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Commission on the Relation of School' and College 



Volume I 
The Story of the Eight-Year Study 



Volume I 
Tfi&fitory of the Eight-Year Study 

Wilford M. Aikin 

Volume II 
Exploring the Curriculum 

The Work of the Thirty Schools 
from the Viewpoint of Curriculum Consultants 

H. H. Giles, S. P. McCutchen, and A. N. Zechiel 

Volume III 

Appraising and Recording Student Progress 

Evaluation, Records and Reports 

in the Thirty Schools 


Eugene R. Smith, Ralph W. Tyler 
and the Evaluation Staff 

Volume IV 
Did They Succeed in College? 

The Follow-up Study of the 
Graduates of the Thirty Schools 


Dean Chamberlin, Enid Straw Chamberlin 

Neal E. Drought and William E. Scott 

Preface by Max McConn 

Volume V 

Thirty Schools Tell Their Story 

Each School Writes of Its Participation 

in the Eight-Year Study 

The Commission on the tlelatiita t> Schbul* arid Cofi&ge 

;! V n **o s o n ' a 

;0tr ; s;;^ ^\ x 
The Progressive Education Association 


Walter Raymond Agard John A. Lester 

Wilford M. Aikin, Chairman Max McConn, Secretary 

WiUard Beatty Clyde R. MiUer 

Bruce Bliven *Jesse H. Newlon 

C. S. Boucher W. Carson Ryan 

*A. J. Burton Harold Rugg 

Flora S. Cooke *Ann Shurnaker 

Harold A. Ferguson Eugene R. Smith 

Burton P. Fowler Perry Dunlap Smith 

Josephine Gleason Katharine Taylor 

Thomas Hopkins Vivian T. Thayer 

Leonard V. Koos Goodwin Watson 

W. S. Learned Raymond Walters 

Robert D. Leigh Ben D. Wood 

After originating and organizing the Eight- Year Study, the Commis- 
sion in 1933 gave full responsibility and authority for the supervision 
of the Study to the Directing Committee. 


Wilford M. Aikin, Chairman, Director of the Study 
Willard Beatty Robert D. Leigh 

Boyd H. Bode Max McConn, Secretary 

Burton P. Fowler *Jesse H. Newlon 

Carl Brigham Marion Park 

Will French Eugene R. Smith 

Herbert E. Hawkes J. E. Stonecipher 

John A. Lester x john B. Johnson 

Elizabeth M. Steel, Secretary to the Director 

* Deceased. 
1 Resigned. 



of the 

With Conclusions and Recommendations 



New York and London 


2 IZM J&arper ? 'Brothers 
&jiftt?ql States of America, 
AM rights in this 'booh are reserved. 
~p~(&fe Zrf the book may ~be reproduced in any 
ftrie** "what 'soe-oer tvithout tvritten permission 
except in the case of ~brief quotations embodied 
in critical, articles and reviews. For information 
address Harper <b~ brothers 

The Progressive Education Association 

the Commission and the Schools 
gratefully acknowledge their indebtedness 


and to the 

for the funds which made this Study possible 

During the first year the Commission had no funds except $800 
contributed in equal amounts by the Francis W. Parker, John Bur- 
roughs, Lincoln, and Tower Hill Schools. From the beginning of 
1932, generous subventions from Carnegie Corporation of New 
York supported the work, except that in evaluation, through 1936. 
Much larger grants from the General Education Board financed 
the work of the Evaluation Staff, the Curriculum Associates and, 
since 1936, all the activities of the Commission. 

Neither Carnegie Corporation of New York nor the General 
Education Board is author, owner, publisher, or proprietor of 
this publication. They are not to be understood as approving by 
virtue of their grants any of the statements made or views ex- 
pressed therein. 

The Progressive Education Association 

the Commission and the Schools 
gratefully acknowledge their indebtedness 


and to the 

for the funds which made this Study possible 

During the first year the Commission had no funds except $800 
contributed in equal amounts by tfte Francis W. Parker, John Bur- 
roughs, Lincoln, and Tower Hill Schools. From the beginning of 
1932, generous subventions from Carnegie Corporation of New 
York supported the work, except that in evaluation, through 1936. 
Much larger grants from the General Education Board -financed 
the work of the Evaluation Staff, the Curriculum Associates and, 
since 1936, all the activities of the Commission. 

Neither Carnegie Corporation of New York nor the General 
Education Board is author, owner, publisher, or proprietor of 
this publication. They are not to be understood as approving by 
virtue of their grants any of the statements made or views ex- 
pressed therein. 

Halation :of School and College 


Helen M. Atic&sqn *Frances Knapp 

Frederick H. Bair Robert D. Leigh 

E. Gordon Bill Max McConn 

Burton P. Fowler Eugene R. Smith, Chairman 

Ben D. Wood 

Ralph W. Tyler, Research Director 
Associate Director Associates 

Oscar K. Euros, 1934-35 Bruno Bettelheim Louis M. Heil 

Louis E. Raths, 1935-38 Paul B. Diederich George Sheviakov 

Maurice L. Hartung, 1938-42 Wilfred Eberhart Hilda Taba 

Harold Trimble 


Herbert J. Abraham Paul R. Grim Carleton C. Jones 

Dwight L. Arnold Chester William Harris W. Harold Lauritsen 

Jean Friedberg Block John H. Herrick Christine McGuire 

Charles L. Boye Clark W. Horton Harold G. McMullen 

Fred P. Frutchey Walter Howe Donald H. McNassor 

Secretaries: Cecelia K. Wasserstrom, Kay D. Watson 

Sub-Committees 1 on Records and Reports 
Committee on Behavior Description 

Helen M. Atkinson Anna Rose Hawkes Rollo G. Reynolds 

E. Gordon Bill ^Frances Knapp Eugene R. Smith 

Carl Brigham Robert D. Leigh John Tildsley 

Oscar K. Euros W. S. Learned Ben D. Wood 

Cecile Flemming John A. Lester Stanley R. Yarnall 

John W. M. Rothney 

Committee on Teachers' Reports and Reports to the Home 

Helen M. Atkinson Rosamond Cross Elmina R. Lucke 

Derwood Baker Burton P. Fowler Eugene R. Smith 

Genevieve L. Coy I. R. Kraybill John W. M. Rothney 

* Deceased. 

1 In addition to those who were continuing committee members, at least 
400 others from the schools and other institutions cooperated. 

Commission on the Relation of School and College 

C- CCC KC C<C C- < K<- <CC < KC- C<C- CCC<' CCfrCCfr K< CC<- <KCC- <- C<C- C<C- 

Committee on Form for Transfer from School to College 

Victor L. Butterfield Ruth W. Crawford Eugene R. Smith 

Genevieve L. Coy Burton P. Fowler Herbert W. Smith 

Albert B, Crawford Elmina R. Lucke Arthur E. Traxler 

John W. M. Rothney 

General Committee on Study of the Development 
of Pupils in Subject Fields 

Helen M. Atkinson Edith M. Penney 

Genevieve L. Coy Eugene R. Smith 

Harry Herron Arthur E. Traxler 

G. H. V, Malone John W. M. Rothney 


H. H. Giles S. P. McCutchen 

A. N. Zechiel 

The following served as special curriculum consultants at various times: 

Harold B. Alberty Henry Harap 

Paul B. Diederich Walter V. Kaulfers 

John A. Lester 


Harold B. Alberty Burton P. Fowler 

C. L. Cushman Max McConn 

Thomas C. Pollock 

Commission on the Relation of School and College 
< c<o c-frcc-c :<: < ( ccm-Kc- << ccc ceo 


Altoona Senior High School, Altoona, 

Baldwin School, Bryn Mawr, Pa. 

Beaver Country Day School, Chest- 
nut Hill, Mass. 

Bronxville High School, Bronxville, 
N. Y. 

Cheltenham Township High School, 
Elkins Park, Pa. 

Dalton Schools, New York, N. Y. 

Denver Senior and Junior High 
Schools, Denver, Colo. 

Des Moines Senior and Junior High 
Schools, Des Moines, Iowa 

Eagle Rock High School, Los An- 
geles, Cal. 

Fieldston School, New York, N. Y* 

Francis W. Parker School, Chicago, 


Friends' Central School, Overbrook, 


George School, George School, Pa. 
Germantown Friends School, Ger- 

mantown, Pa. 

Horace Mann School, New York, N. Y. 
John Burroughs School, Clayton, Mo. 

Lincoln School of Teachers College, 

New York, N. Y. 
Milton Academy, Milton, Mass. 
New Trier Township High School, 

Winnetka, IU. 
North Shore Country Day School, 

Winnetka, 111. 
Radnor High School, Wayne, Pa. 

Head 1 
(Levi Gilbert) Joseph N. Maddocks 

(Miss Elizabeth Johnson) Miss Ros- 
amond Cross 
Eugene R. Smith 

Miss Edith M. Penney 
I. R. Kraybill 

Miss Helen Parkhurst 

(Charles Greene) (C. L. Cushman) 

John J. Cory 
(*R. C. Cook) J. E. Stonecipher 

Miss Helen Babson 

(Herbert W. Smith) (Derwood 

Baker) Luther Tate 
(Miss Flora Cooke) (Raymond Os- 

borne) Herbert W. Smith 
Barclay L. Jones 

George A. Walton 

(Stanley R. Yarnall) Burton P. 


(Rollo G. Reynolds) WiU French 
(Wilford M. Aikin) Leonard D. 

(* Jesse H. Newlon) (Lester Dix) 

Will French 
W. L. W. Field 
Matthew P. Gaffney 

Perry Dunlap Smith 
Sydney V. Rowland 

1 Many changes in administration occurred in the schools during the 
period of the Study. Such cases are indicated by names in parentheses given 
in chronological order of service. 

* Deceased 

Commission on the Relation of School and College 


School Head 

Shaker High School, Shaker Heights, R. B. Patin 


Tower Hill School, Wilmington, Del. (Burton P. Fowler) James S. Guern- 
Tulsa Senior and Junior High (Will French) (Eli C. Foster) H. 

Schools, Tulsa, Okla. W. Gowans 

University of Chicago High School, (Arthur K. Loomis) P. B. Jacobson 

Chicago, 111. 
University High School, Oakland, ( George Rice ) Paul T. Fleming 

University School of Ohio State Uni- (Rudolph Lindquist) (Harold B. 

versity, Columbus, Ohio Alberty) Robert S, Gilchrist 

Winsor School, Boston, Mass. (Miss Katharine Lord) Miss Frances 


Wisconsin High School, Madison, (H. H. Ryan) (Stephen M. Corey) 
Wise. (Gordon Mackenzie) Glen G. Eye 


I. The Eight-Year Study Is Launched 1 

II. The Schools Choose the Democratic Way 25 

III. The Curriculum Heeds the Concerns of Youth 46 

IV. The Schools Study their Pupils 87 
V. What Happened in College? 102 

VI. This We Have Learned 116 

Appendix 140 


Chapter I 



In April, 1930, two hundred men and women were assem- 
bled in the nation's capital to consider ways by which the 
secondary schools of the United States might better serve all 
our young people. The Progressive Education Association, 
which had stimulated great change in elementary education, 
was asking in this annual convention, How can the high 
school improve its service to American Youth? 

In that group were gray-haired principals and teachers 
who had worked long years with boys and girls, young 
teachers recently out of college, eager to learn how to help 
their students more effectively, parents deeply concerned 
that their sons and daughters should have experiences in 
high school that would develop their powers and equip 
them to assist in the rebuilding of our already profoundly 
disturbed national life. In the course of the two-day discus- 
sion many proposals for improvement of the work of our 
secondary schools were made and generally approved. But 
almost every suggestion was met with the statement, _^Yes,~ 
that should be done in our high schools, but it can't be done 
without risking students* chances of being admitted to col- 
lege. If the student doesn't follow the pattern of subjects and 
units prescribed by the colleges, he probably will not be 
accepted."Under these^conditions not many schools were 
willing to departve^far from the conventional high school 
curriculum. They could not take chances on having their 
candidates rejected by the colleges. 


The meeting was about to end in a sense of futility and 
frustration. However, someone with courage and vision pro- 
posed that the Progressive Education Association should be 
asked to establish a Commission on the Relation of School 
and College to explore possibilities of better co-ordination of 
school and college work and to seek an agreement which 
would provide freedom for secondary schools to attempt fun- 
damental reconstruction. 

The Commission was established the following autumn, 
October, 1930. Mr. Burton Fowler, then president of the 
Association, asked the writer to become chairman. Everyone 
invited to serve on the Commission was known to be con- 
cerned with the revision of the work of the secondary school 
and eager to find some way to remove the obstacle of rigid 
college prescriptions. Of the twenty-six members chosen, 
some had been active in the Washington meeting of the 
previous spring. Others were high school and college 
teachers; high school principals; college deans, presidents, 
and admission officers; evaluation specialists; educational 
philosophers; and journalists. 1 This group met from time to 
time, each member at his own expense, over a period of 
about two years. Although almost every educational interest 
and point of view was represented, all members agreed that 
secondary education in the United JStetes. needed experi- 
mental study and comprehensive re-examination in the light 
off tiller knowledge of the learning process and of the needs 
of young people in our society. 

All members of the Commission were conscious of the 
amazing development of our secondary schools in the first 
three decades of the century. They realized that the number 
of boys and girls in high school had grown from less than 

1 For Commission membership, see introductory pages. 


million to almost ten millions; that about 70 per cenP 
of all American youth of high school age are in school; that 
billions had been invested by states, cities, towns, counties, 
and townships in imposing buildings and modern equip- 
ment; that these communities were gladly taxing themselves < 
to pay the salaries of nearly 300,000 high school teachers; 
and that the faith of the American people in education W 
mained unshaken. 

Many in this group had shared in these thirty exciting years 
of American education. They had seen the limited curriculum 
consisting chiefly of history, foreign languages, mathematics, 
science, and English extended to include the social studies, 
commercial subjects, the arts, home economics, shop work, 
and other courses of many kinds. They had participated in 
changing the content of traditional subjects and methods of 
teaching them. They had encouraged the development of 
student activities in speech, dramatics, music, athletics, pub- 
lications, and a score of other fields. They had helped make 
the high school an orderly place of good feeling between 
teachers and pupils a place to which most pupils went 
gladly because of pleasant association with others and inter- 
est in the general life of the school. They had seen the high 
school diploma become the magic key to doors of social and 
economic preferment. 

These representative educators were vividly aware of the 
great achievements of our high schools. They shared the 
people's pride in them, but they were not satisfied. They 
were conscious of defects and determined, if possible, tc 
correct them. They knew that of six who enter the higl 
school only three graduate; of the three who graduate, onl; 
one goes on to college. For five out of six, then, high schoo] 
is the end of formal schooling. For these five as well as for 


the one, the secondary school years can become a profoundly 
significant experience, said these educators. 

Schools and Colleges 
Face the Facts 

After more than a year's study the Commission issued a 
statement setting forth some of the areas which needed 
exploration and improvement by our schools. It seemed to 
the Commission that secondary education was clearly inade- 
quate in certain major aspects of its work, 

Secondary education in the United States did not have 
clear-cut, definite, central purpose. It had many goals, not 
one^cleaf "purpose inTelatfon to which all others are of sec- 
ondary importance. True, the high school diploma led to 
higher social and economic levels. It was believed that a 
'liigh school education" was good for youth but few asked 
seriously, "Good for what?" Neither society nor education 
knew certainly what the major purpose of the high school 
should be. The result was that teachers had no sure sense 
of direction and that boys and girls had no integrating, 
deeply satisfying school experience. 

Schools failed, to ginv st<nde.ni_s a sincere appreciation of 
their heritage as J^eri^nj^tizens. The study of the history 
of the United States usually left students without under- 
standing of the way of life for which we have been striving 
throughout our history; it seldom aroused enthusiasm and 
devotion. American youth left high school with diplomas but 
without insight into the great political, social, and economic , 
problems of our nation. 

Our secondary schools^d_not^prepare adequately for the 
respoimbilities of community life. Schools generally were 
excellent examples of autocratic, rather than democratic, 


organization and living. Since little effort was made to lead 
youth into a clear understanding of the ideals of democracy, 
most students left school without principles to guide their 
action as they sought work and a place in adult life. Not 
many had developed any strong sense of social responsibil- 
ity or deep concern for the common welfare. 

Thajrif^ $nh.f>ol x0J.rI.nrn. rhqUenged the student of first- 
rate ability to work up to the level of his intellectual 
It was ea's^o^mn to "get EisTIe'ssons/' pass his courses. 
The result was that many a brilliant mind developed habits 
of laziness, carelessness, superficiality. These habits, becom- 
ing firmly established during adolescence, prevented the full 
development of powers. Even the conscientious student of 
superior ability did not often find himself seriously involved 
in a great intellectual enterprise. Seldom was any student 
"set on fire" intellectually, eager to explore on his own, 
ready to conquer difficulties and go through whatever drudg- 
ery might be necessary to achieve his purpose. The indi- 
vidual and society were both losers. 

Schools neither knew their students well nw^guidedjhejn, 
wisely. Not often did teachers know students as young 
human beings striving to find their way into adulthood. Per- 
sonal guidance was futile, usually involving only an occa- 
sional friendly chat; vocational guidance was limited to class- 
room study of occupations; and educational guidance was 
superficial, consisting chiefly of casual counsel concerning 
the subjects to be "taken" next semester. Few schools were 
seriously concerned about those who dropped out before 
graduation or about what happened to those who did re- 
ceive diplomas. 

Schools fail&c^^ 

In spite of greater understanding of the ways in 


which human beings learn, teachers persisted in the dis- 
. credited practice of assigning tasks meaningless to most 
pupils and of listening to re-citations. The work was all laid 
out to be done. The teacher's job was to see that the pupil 
learned what he was supposed to learn. The student's pur- 
poses were not enlisted and his concerns were not taken into 
account. All this was in violation of what had been discov- 
ered about the learning process. The classroom was formal 
and completely dominated by the teacher. Rarely did stu- 
dents and teacher work together upon problems of genuine 
significance. Seldom did students drive ahead under their 
own power at tasks which really meant something to them. 

Somehow, eagerness to learn grew less year by year as 
pupils advanced through school. This was not true of all, 
but it was characteristic of so many that the members of the 
Commission were seriously disturbed. They recognized that 
disintegrating and deadening forces outside school were par- 
tially responsible for this deplorable result, but they were 
quite sure that the content and organization of the curricu- 
lum had something to do with it. 

The Commission was conscious* also, of the -fact that the 
creative energies of students wew^et^mJL^egj^and de- 
veloped.^ Students were so busy "doing assignments/' meet- 
ing demands imposed upon them, that they had little time 
for anything else. When there was time., they were seldom 
challenged or permitted to carry on independent work in- 
volving individual initiative, fresh combination of thought, 
invention, construction, or special pursuits. Although the 
creative urge may express itself in any field of endeavor, the 
arts, which afford unusual opportunity in this respect, were 
looked upon as "fads and frills," non-existent in many 
schools, inadequately taught in most others. Art, in its various 


forms and uses, permeates everyday life. In its higher mani- 
festations, it expresses the finest aspirations of the human 
spirit. Yet, only a few schools provided for their students 
enriching and satisfying experiences commensurate with die 

importance of Jfagjufe.fa-nnr piilf-iira. 

Tlw^coiM^ was jar removed 

/torn thejreal concerns of youth. The subjects studied in the 
classroom were the curriculum; the activities of the students 
were the extra-curriculum. These activities, initiated and 
developed by students, were recognized as significant edu- 
cational experiences, but they were outside the curriculum. 
There was little realization that much of the work of the 
classroom was meaningless to students and that they were 
doing the work assigned chiefly for the "credit" which would 
add one more toward the total required for a diploma or 
admission to college. The molds into which education was 
poured, rather than its essence and spirit, became the goals 
of pupils and parents alike. This emphasis upon "credits" 
blinded even the teachers so that they could not see their 
real task. 

Young people wanted to get ready to earn a living, to 
understand themselves, to learn how to get on with others, 
to become responsible members of the adult community, to 
find meaning in living. The curriculum seldom touched upon 
such genuine problems of living. 

traditional subjects of the curriculum hadjQ_st^ rtwch 
j)itality and significance. The purposes they should 
serve were seldom realized even in the lives of students of 
distinguished native ability. The study of a foreign language 
did not often lead to extensive or searching reading of the 
great literature in that language; history usually was quickly 
forgotten, leaving no great concepts of human society, no 
deep understanding of the forces which mold man's des- 


tiny; science raised few fundamental questions of the nature 
of man or the universe; mathematics seldom became an 
effective tool, and even less frequently did it become a chal- 
lenge to insight and understanding; the study of literature 
generally failed to heighten appreciation, deepen compre- 
hension, or aid in the interpretation of experience. 

Most high school^md^Mes^were nqt competent in the use 
. They seldom read books voluntarily 

and they were unable to express themselves effectively either 
in speech or writing. 

The Commission -found little evidence of unity in the, work 
ofJhe typical ^^_school. Subjects and courses had been 
added until the program, especially of large schools, re- 
sembled a picture puzzle, without consistent plan or pur- 
pose. It was customary for a pupil to patch together all sorts 
of pieces two units here, one there, a half unit elsewhere. 
His chief purpose was to collect enough pieces to graduate. 
If there was basic unity underlying subjects, few students 
discovered it; subjects of study were isolated, planned and 
taught without reference to the student's other studies or to 
any unifying purpose. 

Teachers worked alone or in subject departments. The 
teacher of English limited his vision and concern to his own 
field; the teacher of science labored only to teach a certain 
body of scientific fact and skill. Seldom did they confer, and 
when they did, the results were usually unsatisfactory be- 
cause neither understood the other's interests or problems. 
The division of labor, even in the intellectual field, had been 
carried so far that common language and community of pur- 
pose were in danger of being lost. Specialization in teaching 
in the secondary school had made it almost impossible for 
any teacher to become himself a person of broad culture. 


Teachers' lives were needlessly and unfortunately narrowed 
and impoverished. 

The absence of unity in the work of the, secondary snhnnl 
mas almosL-matched hy the lank-of continuity. The student 
jumped from semester to semester, from year to year, seldom 
going anywhere in particular. His work of one year had 
little relation to that of the preceding or following year. 
Because neither he nor his teachers had definite, long-time 
purposes for his work, he had no clear road to follow or 
compass to guide him in finding his way through the tangled 
underbrush of the curriculum. 

^}^^ generally ten 

Elementary education had been revolutionized 
since the beginning of the century, but the high school was 
still holding to tradition. It was rather well satisfied with 
itself. Minor curriculum changes were frequently made, but 
there was little serious questioning of purposes, practices, or 
results. Lavish financial support and blind faith on the part 
of the people encouraged schoolmen to conclude that all 
was right with their world. 

Teachers were not well equipped for their 

They lacked full knowledge of the nature of youth of 
physical, intellectual, and emotional drives and growth. 
They understood little of the conditions essential to effective 
learning. Relation of the school to the society it should serve 
was only dimly perceived. Democracy was taken for 
granted, but teachers seldom had any clear conception of 
democracy as a way of living which should characterize the 
whole life of the school. Very few were capable of leading 
youth into an understanding of democracy and its problems, 
for they themselves did not understand. 

Only here and there did the Comrnission find principals 
nf ffy^r mnrk in farms nf democratic leader- 


of the community, teachers, and students. Usually the 
principal was a benevolent autocrat or a "good fellow/* let- 
ting each teacher do as he pleased as long as neither parents 
nor pupils complained. Most principals were constantly 
busy just "running the machine"; they seldom stopped long 
enough to ask themselves, Why are we doing this or that? 
What are we driving at? Where are we going? 
Principals and teachers labored 

; hut uwidly^mthnnt any mmprehej^tipg^wlimtinn of 
the results Q^jfcd^-^^o^fer^Fhey knew what grades students 
made on tests of knowledge and skill, but few knew or 
seemed really to care whether other objectives such as 
understandings, appreciations, clear thinking, social sensi- 
tivity, genuine interests were being achieved. 

The high school diploma meant only that the student had 
done whatever was ^necessary to_ accumulate the required 

~nub$ $ .-.units. Graduation from high school found most 
boys and girls without long-range purpose, without voca- 
tional preparation, without that discipline which comes 
through self-direction, and without having discovered for 
themselves something which gives meaning to living. Youth 
knew its rights and privileges, but often missed the rich sig- 
nificance of duty done and responsibilities fully met. Un- 
selfish devotion to great causes was not a characteristic 
result of secondary education. 

Finally, the relation of school and college was unsatisfac- 
tory toJostihJtt}^^ In spite of the fact that formal edu- 

cation for five out of six of our youth ends at or before 
graduation from high school, secondary schools were still 
dominated by the idea of preparation for college. The cur- 

riculum was still chiefly "college preparatory/' What the 
college prescribed for admission determined, to a large 


extent, what the boys and girls of the United States could 
study in school. 

In large city high schools there was a wide range of fields 
of study, many of them designed for those who were not 
going to college; but parents and students looked upon the 
"college preparatory" subjects as the most "respectable." 
Thousands who had little or no aptitude for the work lead- 
ing to college were engaged in it simply because it was the 
traditional thing to do. In the small high school of five or 
six teachers, with a necessarily limited offering of subjects, 
college prescriptions shaped the curriculum. When we real- 
ize that 60 per cent of all high school students are in schools 
of 200 or less, the importance of the influence of the college 
upon secondary education becomes apparent. 

Most communities still judged the success or failure of the 
high school upon the basis of the school's standing with the 
colleges. When a student failed in his work in college and 
returned to his home community branded as a failure, the 
prestige of the school suffered severely in the eyes of its 
patrons. The failure of one student in college did more harm 
to the reputation of the school than its failure to adjust a 
hundred students who did not go to college to the work aiid- 
responsibilities of life in the community. Because of this, 
the school placed undue emphasis upon preparation for 
college, to the neglect of its responsibility to those who were 
entering directly into the life of the community. 

It was in no spirit of sweeping condemnation that the 
members of the Commission viewed the work of the second- 
ary school in the United States. Their criticism was not so 
much of others as of themselves. They realized that many 
shortcomings were due to the amazing growth of our 


schools, to the nece^^^Tergj^oying inadequately prepared 

time to adjust the work of the school 

to new responsibilitiesT J3ut ^ iin3erstandingc)f the conditions 
which produced weaknesses in our schools did not lessen 
the Commission's conviction that earnest attempts to remove 
them should be made at once. The co-operation of more than 
300 colleges and universities was sought and secured in 1932. 

Schools and Colleges 
Join Hands 

The plan of co-operation between schools and colleges 
provided that a small number of representative secondary 
schools, to be selected by the Directing Committee 2 of the 
Commission, would be released from the usual subject and 
unit requirements for college admission for a period of five 
years, 3 beginning with the class entering college in 1936. 
Practically all accredited colleges and universities agreed to 
this plan. Relatively few colleges require candidates to take 
College Entrance Board Examinations. In such cases, these 
examinations were waived by all except Harvard, Haver- 
ford, Princeton, and Yale. These four men's colleges, with 
this one reservation, accepted the proposal and agreed to 
co-operate. The Directing Committee was especially appre- 
ciative of the full co-operation of the women's colleges. 

It was agreed that admission to college during the experi- 
mental period would be based jipon the following criteria: 4 

A. Recommendation from the principal of the co-operating sec- 
ondary school to the effect that the graduating student (a) is 

2 The Commission had become too large to work" effectively. The Direct- 
ing Committee was charged by the Commission with the responsibility of 
conducting the Study to its conclusion. For membership of Directing Com- 
mittee, see introductory pages. 

8 This period was later extended to eight years. 

4 From "A Proposal for Better Coordination of School and College Work/' 
For complete document, see Appendix, pp. 140-146. 


possessed of the requisite general intelligence to carry on college* 
work creditably; (b) has well-defined, serious interests and pur- 
poses; (c) has demonstrated ability to work successfully in one 
or more fields of study in which the college offers instruction. / 

B. A carefully recorded history of the student's school life and 
of his activities and interests, including results of various types 
of examinations and other evidence of the quality and quantity of 
the candidate's work, also scores on scholastic aptitude, achieve- 
ment, and other diagnostic tests given by the schools during the 
secondary school course. 

It is intended that the tests used will be of such character that 
the results submitted to the colleges will give a more adequate and 
complete picture of the candidate than is given by methods now 
in use. A special Committee on Records is now at work endeavor- 
ing to determine: 

1. what information the college needs for wise selection and 
guidance of students; 

2. how that information can best be secured; 

3. in what form it should be recorded and presented to the 

The co-operating colleges will not be obliged to admit under 
this agreement all such students as meet the new requirements. 
However, during the experimental period and from the limited 
group of cooperating schools, the colleges agree to accept stu- 
dents under this plan without regard to tbe.ormrsft and imfr 
requirements now generally in force for all students, and without 
further examination. The colleges, for this period, agree, also, 
thatstudents applying, for admission under the new requirements 
will be considered without discrimination in comparison with 
students applying from other schools where present requirements 
are in effect. 

The Directing Committee approached the task of select- 
ing the secondary sphools to participate in the Study by 
asking school and college officials in strategic positions in 
various parts of the country to recommend schools which 
would contribute to the improvement of secondary educa- 
tion if given the opportunity provided by this agreement 


with colleges and universities. About two hundred schools 
were suggested. Every member of the Committee then occu- 
pied a full-time, responsible post. No one was free to give 
the time necessary for careful investigation, but acting as 
wisely as possible under the circumstances, the Committee 
chose twenty-eight schools which seemed well-qualified to 
promote the purpose of the Study. Later two California 
schools were added. 

In making selection, the Committee decided to include 
both private and public schools, large and small schools, and 
schools4epresenting different sections of the United Statesy 
But the chief concern of the Committee was to choose com- 
petent schools which were dissatisfied with the work they 
were doing and eager to inaugurate exploratory studies and 
changes which could not be undertaken without the freedom 
granted by the colleges. The schools 5 finally chosen to co- 
operate in the Study are: 

Altoona Senior High School Des Moines Senior and Junior 

Altoona, Pennsylvania High Schools 

Baldwin School Des Moines, Iowa 

Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania Eagle Rock High School 

Beaver Country Day School Los Angeles, California 

Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts Fieldston School 

Bronxville High School New York, New York 

Bronxville, New York Francis W. Parker School 

Cheltenham Township High Chicago, Illinois 

School Friends' Central School 

Elkins Park, Pennsylvania Overbrook, Pennsylvania 

Dalton Schools George School 

New York, New York George School, Pennsylvania 

Denver Senior and Junior High Germantown Friends School 

Schools Germantown, Pennsylvania 

Denver, Colorado 

B In 1936, one of the original 28, Pelham Manor, withdrew with the 
consent and approval of the Directing Committee. 


Horace Mann School 

New York, New York 
Jnfcn Burroughs School 

Lincoln School of Teachers 

New York, New York 
Milton Academy 

Milton, Massachusetts 
New Trier Township High 

Winnetka, Illinois 
North Shore Country Day 

Winnetka, Illinois 
Radnor High School 

Wayne, Pennsylvania 
Shaker High School 

Shaker Heights, Ohio 

Tower Hill School 

Wilmington, Delaware 
Tulsa Senior and Junior High 

Tulsa, Oklahoma 
University of Chicago High 

Chicago, Illinois 
University High School 

Oakland, California 
University School of Ohio State 

Columbus, Ohio 
Winsor School 

Boston, Massachusetts 
Wisconsin High School 

Madison, Wisconsin 

The schools began their new work in the fall of 1933. 
Each developed its own plans and decided for itself what 
changes should be made in curriculum, organization, and 
procedure. The Directing Committee had decided that the 
independence and autonomy of each school must be care- 
fully guarded. It thought that significant developments could 
come only out of each school's sincere attempt to serve 
better the boys and girls in its own community. The Direct- 
ing Committee attempted through its membership, through 
sub-committees, and through specialists in the fields of eval- 
uation, records and reports, and curriculum to render every 
possible assistance sought by the schools, but to avoid any 
thought or action. Tljat policy gave to 

the schools the freedom and responsibility which belong to 
them. Without preventing essential unity of purpose, this 


thoroughly democratic procedure has led to desirable variety 
in organization and procedure. 

The Schools Plan for Use of 
their New Freedom 

In 1933, shortly after the participating schools were 
chosen, the principals met with the Directing Committee to 
plan together for eight years of difficult work. Everyone had 
a strong sense of sharing in a great adventure; few antici- 
pated fully the hard work, the problems, the discourage- 
ments, and the eventual satisfactions which were to come. 
No one present at that first conference will ever forget the 
honest confession of one principal when she said, "My 
teachers and I do not know what to do with this freedom. 
It challenges and frightens us. I fear that we have come to 
lave our chains! 9 Most of us were just beginning to realize 
that we were facing the severest possible test of our initia- , 
tive, imagination, courage, and wisdom. No one of the group 
could possibly foresee all the developments ahead, nor were 
all of one mind as to what should be done. 

Members of the Commission and representatives of the 
Thirty "Schools continued to meet_annually to think and^plan 
together. Although each school would decide for itself what 


to do with this new freedom, everyone was eager to have 
the benefit of the thinking and experience of all others. The 
reader should keep in mind always that the principals and 
teachers of the Thirty Schools were striving, groping, search- 
ing constantly in their attempts to decide what to teach and 
how to teach. The schools did not all start from the same 
place or go in the same direction. It is difficult, therefore, to 
report their purposes and plans both briefly and accurately. 
However, it can be stated that they became convinced, in 
the course of reconsideration of their own work, that two 


principle should guide their efforts at reconstruction. 

The first was that the general life of the school and^meth- 
ods nfteaching should conform n mb/it fa _ftca0 knoton 

about the watjs^in which human Jiprng^leafn^nn/J, gcoto. 

Until recent years learning in school has been thought of 
as an intellectual process of acquiring certain skills and of 
mastering prescribed subject matter. It has been assumed 
that physical and emotional reactions are not involved in 
the learning process, but if they are, they are not very im- 
portant. Thejiewer concept of learning holds that a human 
being develops through doing those tilings jwhjcb_ have 
rnparirng to him: that the doing involves the whole person 
in all aspects of his being; and that growth takes place as 
each experience leads to greater understanding and more 
intelligent reaction to new situations. 

Holding this view, the participating schools believed that 
the school should become a place in which young people 
work together at tasks which are clearly related to their 
purposes. No longer should teachers, students, or parents 
think of school simply as a place to do what was laid out to 
be done. Nor should schooling be just a matter of passing 
courses, piling up credits, and, finally, getting a diploma. 
The school should be a living social organism of which each 
student is a vital part. It should be a place to which one 
goes gladly because there he can engage in activities which 
satisfy his desires, work at the solution of problems which 
he faces in everyday living, and have opened to him new 
interests and wider horizons. The whole boy goes to school; 
therefore school should stimulate his whole being. It should 
provide opportunities for the full exercise of his physical, 
intellectual, emotional, and spiritual powers as he strives to 
achieve recognition and a place of usefulness and honor in 
adult society. 


The Thirty Schools realized that many changes in ways 
of teaching, as well as in organization and curriculum, were 
necessary if attendance at school was to become the stimu- 
lating, meaningful experience it could be for each student. 
They knew that the classroom should become a place of 
co-operative activity in which teacher and students would 
seek together to achieve results which they believed impor- 
tant. Only as society's demands and student concerns were 
united in school objectives could education become an ex- 
perience of vital significance. Only then would eager out- 
reach for knowledge and understanding supplant credit 
accumulation. Only then would earnest, hard work be done 
gladly and intelligently. For then the student would be seek- 
ing the essence and substance rather than the forms and 
husks of education. 

The second major principle whwh ^uidedjfwj^jork, of the 
participating schools was that thejiigh school in the United 
Sj^e^shu^nMTre'discover its chief reason for existence. It is 
not enough to create better conditions for learning. It is 
equally necessary to determine what American youth most 
need to learn. Out of their searching study the Thirty 
Schools came to realize that the primary purpose of educa- 
tion is to lead our youn 

CJLaj&^aadJxi live the kind of life-foy-which wo-as a. people 
bavejpeen striving throughout^ Other things are 

important but only relatively so. It is necessary to teach the 
three "R's," science, language, history, mathematics, the arts, 
safety, vocations, and most of the other subjects that now 
crowd the curriculums of the schools; but unless our young 
people catch the vision which has led us on through all 
generations, we perish. 

Year after year the conviction became clearer and deeper 
that the school itself should become a demonstration of the 


kind of life in which this nation believes. The Commission 
and the schools said that the most important service the 
school can render youth is to give them understanding and 
appreciation of the way of life we call democracy, and that 
the best way to understand and appreciate is to live that 
kind of life at school every day. 

It was soon discovered that application of principles of 
democracy to the life of the school would cut deep. To de- 
velop a sense of worth in each individual, to promote full 
participation by each one in the affairs of the school, and 
to lead everyone to think for himself would demand radical 
change in many aspects of the curriculum and ways of teach- 
ing. Nevertheless, the Thirty Schools, holding these ideas, 
set to work to put them into practice. 

They were ctutte suro-^hc^-the spirit and practice of exper- 
and ff#pj^*<y#on should characterize secondary 
m a democracy. The schools in the Eight-Year Study 
came to be called "experimental" schools. Most schools were 
fearful of such appellation. The term had come to connote 
foolish, careless, haphazard changes made without serious 
study and concluded without painstaking evaluation of re- 
sults. The Thirty Schools entered the Study to make honest 
attempts to find better ways of serving their students. 
Thoughtful investigation and planning preceded each inno- 
vation, and careful measurement of results followed. If re- 
sults were not satisfactory, further change was made in the 
light of fuller knowledge. In this sense the Thirty Schools 
were and are "experimental" and they believe that every 
school in a democracy should be, also. No aspect of any 
school's work should be so firmly fixed in practice or tradi- 
tion as to be immune from honest inquiry and possible im- 
provement. It is only in this way that life and vigor are 
maintained and progress achieved. 


Many in the Study thought tJyrtJfe^^ 
should "be undertakjmjonly. after thou^lful^O'J?perative re- 
con^wati^ community 

jtserves. They believed that no change in any part of the 
curriculum should be made without consideration of its 
effect upon the whole program of studies. They realized 
that this would require time, organization, and leadership. 
As the schools began their studies preparatory to revision 
of their work, j^yw ere sure $uti the curriculum of the 
secondary school shoulS^deaf'^^^frthe present concerns^ of 
ijpn^yeln^ skills, under- 

standings? and appreciations which constitute our cultural 
heritage. There was no~Hisposition to undervalue or elim- 
inate from the curriculum the accumulated, well-organized 
experience of civilization. But there was widespread recog- 
nition of the fact that much of the conventional high school 
curriculum had become inert and of little value and that 
many vital needs of youth were not being met effectively. 
Many of the schools thought that the problems common to 
young people growing. jup in the United States should con- 
stitute the heart and center of the curriculum for all, whether 
they are going to college or not. 

Every school in the Study sought from the start to develop 

that artificial barriers, which separated subject from subject 
and teacher from teacher, had been erected in schools gen- 
erally. In all the proposals for change submitted by the 
schools in 1933, there were devices for bringing subjects to- 
gether and for teachers to plan and work co-operatively. It 
was thought that these changes would enable students to 
see the relationship of one subject to another; teachers and 
students would begin to glimpse the underlying unity of all 


Continuity was to be found by arranging courses in better 
sequence. In a few of the schools it was realized at the be- 
ginning that really significant continuity of experience can- 
not be achieved by any fixed pre-arrangement of courses 
alone. This year's work must build upon last year's, but no 
two groups or individuals are the same. Therefore, some 
schools with unusual insight and understanding attempted 
to secure continuity of growth by enlisting the students in 
the work of planning each unit of study in relation to the 
experiences which had gone before. 

Because of their concern for the individual as well as for 
the whole group, the schools realized that they must know 

guide him wisely. They said they 

should know each one as a person, not just as a student of 
English or mathematics or as halfback on the football team. 
Some teacher should know him in these and all other phases 
of his life, including his home. That teacher should be sen- 
sitive, understanding, and wise enough to bring all the ap- 
propriate resources of the school and community to bear 
upon the task of guiding the student in meeting his personal, 
educational, and vocational problems, 

From the beginning the Commission and the schools rec- 
ognized their responsilnRty for measuring, recording^ and 
results o/jfegjr^^rfe.'TEey~knew this would 

be difficult They realized that neither they nor any other 
schools really knew much about the results of school expe- 
riences in the lives of their students. They had means of 
measuring accretions of knowledge and development of 
skills, but they could not be sure of the achievement of other 
equally important but less tangible purposes. They expected 
that fuller appraisal of results would facilitate curriculum 
revision, revealing weaknesses and strengths and providing 
a sound basis for further change. 


As the Study got under way, the Thirty Schools hoped 
fh^tj^ rd/dtons imth ^olle^S^und univ&rsi- 

ties-uiould be developed. Some schools were sending almost 
all graduates to college; from others only one in five or six 
continued his formal education. All the schools were eager 
to improve their service to both groups. Theoretically, sec- 
ondary schools were free to meet the needs of the non- 
college-going student in any way they wished; but, as has 
been pointed out, college requirements fixed in most schools 
the program of studies for all. It was acknowledged that 
high schools did have a limited range of freedom, but it had 
to be admitted that they did not use the freedom they pos- 
sessed and that college prescriptions were often only an 
excuse for stagnation and inaction. 

Now that these requirements were no longer binding on 
the Thirty Schools, they were under the necessity of proving 
that they could use freedom creatively and wisely. They 
were eager to do this, for they believed that the larger 
measure of freedom which they now had should characterize 
school and college relations generally. Tjfeggjloubied that 
success in college depends t^^uZie^i^fT^f^gr^^n subjects 
fnr ajcertain lenPtKof time.. They questioned the basic as- 
sumption upon which college-school relations were based: 
that only by the study of English, foreign language, mathe- 
matics, science, and history could a student be prepared for 
the work of the liberal arts college. 

The schools believed that there are^m^my-^different ave- 
nues^study and experience hy ^vayofwhich youngpeople 
could develop the skill, understanding, and intellectual ma- 
turity necessary for satisfactory achievement at the college 
level^TEey were convinced that work in school should have 
meaning for each student because of its pertinence to his 


concerns and that such work would develop the powers 
needed in college. In the formal proposal to colleges and 
universities, the Commission stated, "We are trying to de- 
velop students who regard education as an enduring quest 
for meanings rather than credit accumulations." The schools 
were confident that this could be done by basing the second- 
ary school curriculum upon the needs of youth in our society. 
If the high school helped students to find the meanings of 
their life experiences, they would go on to college to seek 
deeper and broader meaning in their maturing experiences. 
To this end traditional studies would have to be revitalized 
and re-oriented; much new content would have to be in- 
cluded in the curriculum of school and college. 

The schools involved in the Study were quite sure that 
they could really prepare students for the life and work of 
college. Most "college preparation" consisted of doing what 
was necessary to get in. Little thought was given by the 
student or his teachers to the real purposes in going to col- 
lege or to the problems of living and working there. These 
schools took their eyes off the college gates and looked to 
the fruitful fields beyond. 

Everyone involved in the Study was convinced that some 
means should be foundry which teachers in the schools and 
professors in the colleges should work together in mutual 
respect. confidmftCj and iindftrfifdnffing Unless tEiFcouHTBe 
done, the Thirty Schools knew that honest, realistic co-ordi- 
nation of school and college work would not be achieved. 

And so the adventure in pioneering was begun. To some 
teachers even in the participating schools the Study was an 
unnecessary and dangerous innovation; to some college pro- 
fessors "Progressive Education now had enough rope to 


hang itself"; and to some parents the Study was a source of 
uneasiness and dissatisfaction. But to most of the teachers 
in the Thirty Schools and to thousands of educators and 
parents throughout the nation, it held great promise for the 

Chapter II 

jy-x xxXj f/ff* fC* (* (.<* '(*(*{ {<? {* f^f*- f^f* + &{* ff '*{{* *- {* (f (ff* f^f f^f*- 

Those were exciting days in 1932, 1933, and 1934 when the 
Thirty Schools were planning and inaugurating their new 
work. Principals, teachers, and students were caught up in 
the spirit of adventure and exploration. "Now/' they said, 
"we can make school what it ought to be. We are free from 
outside domination; no one is telling us what we ^tst do. 
We shall re-create our school We are part of a nation-wide 
project; the eyes of the educational world are upon us. The 
colleges trust us. We have a great privilege and responsi- 

The Schools Start in Many 
Different Directions 

ThejBrst meeting of representatives of the schools with 
the members of the Commission was held in_March, 3^3. 
College presidents, deans and professors, school principals 
and teachers were there. For two days morning, afternoon, 
and evening schools told what they expected to do with 
their freedom. 

The schools look back now upon that first meeting with 
some amusement and with realization of the inadequacy of 
their preparation at that time for the hard tasks ahead. The 
proposals for their new work ranged over a wide field, all 
the way from plans to teach "The Progress of Man through 
the Ages" to instruction in "Football from the Spectator's 
Point of View," Most of the plans were quite ambitious, 



stated in glowing, general terms. One school proposed to do 
these two things: "The school will present to its students 
the opportunity for fullest development as individuals, both 
in their formative years and in adult life; it further will con- 
tribute to the progress of society through increasing the 
value of their participation in present and future situations/' 
Another school proposed this for its work in English: "The 
literature which grew out of the life of the peoples who par- 
ticipated most actively in the development of the new pat- 
terns of civilization in the last 300 years will be studied." 
That would seem to be a sizeable job, but another school 
proposed "to study primitive man and to continue over a 
three year period to include the history of our own country 
together with problems of international scope/ 7 Another 
school set for itself an even larger task: "Our program at- 
tempts to aid pupils to come to an understanding and appre- 
ciation of what civilization has meant from time to time in 
different cultures and continues to mean in terms of social 
organization, production and consumption, standards of 
living, order, individual liberty, group co-operation, ethical 
standards and achievements in the arts and literature/' 

Other changes proposed were of a quite different nature. 
Illustrative of these were plans announced by various schools 
"to include social dancing in the curriculum," "to eliminate 
the motive of individual competition/' "to provide for dis- 
tribution of time for each student as follows: major field of 
interest or ability, 40%; minor field of interest, 15%; physical 
recreation and health, 20%; social studies, 15%; maintenance 
of basic skills, 10%." Several schools planned to provide for 
longer class periods with less rushing from room to room. 
Many expected to eliminate the division between curricular 
and "extra curricular" activities. One school proposed to 

graduate stuffa-ofs^ nnf y/hpn the fffriffani-Jiflrl-agra^ 


sixteen credits, but when, in the judgment of teachers, par- 
etfts, and the student himself his growth would be promoted 
more effectively in college or in a vocation. A few of the 
schools which had been established as "experimental schools'' 
proposed to use the freedom granted by the colleges to 
expand new work already under way. 

Anyone familiar with the numerous demands made upon 
schools in the United States will not wonder that the Thirty 
Schools began in some confusion and with diversified pur- 
poses. Many teachers, looking back upon those early days, 
feel with the one who says, "At the beginning of the Eight- 
Year Study all of us were rather frantic in our new under- 
taking. We wanted to do everything, omit nothing. That, of 
course, was wrong. We have learned so much from this fine 
experience that it makes one laugh sometimes at the way 
we started out." 

Uncertainty there surely was. One private school was even 
uncertain of its continued existence because of the discon- 
tinuance of a large annual contribution of funds by one of 
its founders. However, those beginning proposals indicated 
a significant move away from the conventional college pre- 
paratory curriculum. 

Varying Conditions 
Affect Progress 

Many factors conditioned each school's participation in 
the Study. The schools whose patrons are prosperous, well- 
satisfied with life generally, and therefore conservative, had 
to move cautiously and slowly. Some schools, finding it dif- 
ficult to realize that the colleges really meant what they said, 
failed to take full advantage of their freedom. In some cases 
administrative leadership was inadequate; in others, the 
teachers were divided in rival and antagonistic groups. On 


the other hand, some of the schools were fortunate in having 
strong, intelligent parent co-operation and support. Most 
schools had unusually capable educational leadership and 
teachers who habitually worked together in effective co- 

Even more marked were other differences among the 
schools. Here, for example, is a private school of 300 pupils 
and 30 teachers. It is located in the country just out of the 
city. The surroundings are delightful: fresh air and sunshine, 
trees, flowers, grass, abundant playing space, adequate 
equipment, a charming library of many books, a long school 
day with time for individual consultation, all sorts of student 
activities, and at least an hour of play every day. In this 
school the pupils almost all come from homes of high social 
and economic privilege, and intelligence quotients range 
from 90 to 160+, with a median of 120. Salaries are ade- 
quate to attract and hold superior teachers, and the average 
teaching load is 5 classes per day of 25 students each. Almost 
all students go on to college. 

In sharp contrast is a city high school of 2500 students 
and 80 teachers. It is located in an old, dingy, smoky section 
of the city. There is no play space at the school; an "athletic 
field" is two miles away, but there are no means of transpor- 
tation. The building is old, with dark rooms and long, nar- 
row corridors connecting the many additions erected without 
plan from time to time. The library is unattractive; the class- 
rooms are formal and forbidding. The students come from 
the lower middle and lowest economic and social groups, 
with several rather large racial minorities. Intelligence quo- 
tients range from 60 to 160+, with a median of 90. Twenty 
per cent of the students score below 80. About 10 per cent 
go on to college. The usual teaching load is 40 pupils per 
class, 6 classes per day. The city salary schedule is some- 


what better than average, and teachers find it possible to 
live in fairly comfortable circumstances. 

The other schools in the Study stand between these ex- 
tremes. Six are officially connected with universities as dem- 
onstration or laboratory schools. In many ways they are well 
equipped and strategically located for educational experi- 
mentation, but their responsibility for teacher education 
often makes pioneering difficult. 

Under these varying circumstances the Thirty Schools set 
out upon their eight-year journey of exploration and trail- 
blazing. It is obviously impossible to record here all that 
happened on the way. The story is told more in detail in 
the other four volumes of the Commission's Report. Only the 
high lights can be reported in this volume. The next chapter 
tells of the changes in curriculum and methods of teaching. 
But a school is something more than curriculum and teach- 
ing. It is a^ociety in itself^composed of young people and 
adultsjiving andjgprking together. This school-society has 
general characteristics and ways of functioning which have 
great educative force in the lives of its members. This chap- 
ter records some of the major developments in the general 
life and work of the schools. 

Out of Uncertainty Comes 
Sure Sense of Direction 

When they began their journey, the Thirty Schools had 
many common goals. This fact is clearly revealed in their 
first statements of purposes. For example, they^ all sought 
adaptation of work to r individual needsL. greater mastery of 

opportunity for release of nreativa^i^rg^ marev 
r^ |earning 7 greater unity of^school experiences 
It is equally clear, however, that in the early years few 
schools had any dominant purposSsto which all .other pur- 


poses were related. One searches their original statements 
in vain for indication of central jpurpose. But out of great 
tribulation they found it. Statements of objectives were re- 
vised again and again. "Out of all the possible experiences 
which the high school should provide for youth/' they asked, 
"which ones should we select? How shall we decide?" From 
those early attempts to discover the direction in which they 
should travel, there emerged one great central purpose. 

It must be emphasized that this sense of the need for 
basic, guiding principles came gradually in the schools of 
the Study. Although many important and worthy objectives 
are to be found in the first proposals, it was notjuntil about 
1937jbhaLaLE^^ expressed in the phi- 

losophy of Ae^nemboT-schools. Even as late as 1935 there 
was still reluctance on the part of many representatives of 
the schools to devote any considerable portion of the annual 
meeting of school Heads and the Commission to considera- 
tion of fundamental principles of American education. At 
the conclusion of a session devoted to search for the mean- 
ing of democracy, several school principals said, "This has 
been very interesting, but let's give no more time to phi- 
losophy. What we need is discussion of the practical job of 
curriculum revision/' But two years later everyone recog- 
nized the need of a sound philosophy for reconstruction of 
American secondary education. 

Theyfound what they sought in^the democratic ideal, in 
*Jie_ American way of life^ "The hig;h school in the United 
.Siaigs?" they said, "should be a demonstration, in all phasj^s. 
gf its activity, of the kind of life in which we as a peoiple 
believe." If the reader will turn to the final school reports 
in Volume V, he will discover that the chief concern of 
every school now is to maintain and promote the American 
way of life. Two extracts from these reports make this clear. 


One is taken from the report of a university school; the 
other, from a large public school. 

The democratic way of life is based upon the assumption of 
resgectfor human personality, . . . 

On the physical side the democratic way of life means proper 
nourishment, shelter, clothing, medical care, and conditions of 
work that are conducive to normal growth and development. 
On the mental side it means freedom to plan one's life and to 
carry out these plans with due consideration for the consequences 
to oneself and others; to utilize the cultural contributions of the 
race for the purpose of enriching life; and to utilize intelligence 
in reconciling conflicts, understanding self and society, and in 
determining conduct. 

A distinctive personality cannot be developed in isolation. 
It develops^ only when there is free interplay wittLother^ person- 
alities. julLand free_garticipation within a given group, and 
among groups, is the best-way of promuongi desirable individual 
development in a complex, interdependent society^ Jjyhi'lfi whole- 

is the^ better means of arh^"'ngjt. The test of every social and 
political organization is the effect which it has upon the individ- 
uals who are touched by it. If it enhances and enriches human 
personality it is desirable; if it tends to destroy or narrow op- 
portunities for development, it is undesirable, and hence contrary 
to the ideal. 

The development and enrichment of human personality, 
through living and working together for common purposes and 
ends, implies the use of intelligence as a method; for only as in- 
dividuals and groups are free to formulate plans and to carry out 
programs of action upon the basis of reflective thinking, can 
human institutions be progressively refined. 1 

This school's report then shows by illustration how the work 
of that school evolves from its philosophy of life and educa- 

1 University School, Ohio State University, Vol. V, Thirty Schools Tell 
Their Story. 


In a city school system the necessity of finding central 
purpose is equally insistent. Here is a frank statement from 
a city in which ten junior and five senior high schools are 
participating in the Eight-Year Study. 

It was not until the experiment had been under way for four 
years that the need for a clearer relationship between the pur- 
poses of the Study and the curriculum to be provided became 
apparent. . . . 

. . . The following statement of the philosophy of the Denver 
schools as a whole is the outgrowth of the Eight- Year Study and 
was planned by a committee representative of the elementary 
schools and the junior and senior high schools of the city. 

"In formulating its philosophy, a school must determine its 
own beliefs concerning the nature of the individuals with whom 
it works and the character of the society which it serves. The 
Denver Public Schools regard human beings as dynamic and 
purposive, with a capacity for growth and the ability to develop 
through experience. The schools of Denver believe that a demo- 
cratic society is the society most congenial to the optimum de- 
velopment of such individuals. Democracy, so conceived, is a 
way of life. This includes at all times (1) the free play of in- 
telligence, (2) respect for the worth of individuals, that is, plac- 
ing human values first, and (3) the participation of all individu- 
als in social living, which is broadly interpreted to include all 
human relationships. 

"The chigLfunctlnrT L nf tbe-schools kua jderorK^c&^^ 
servgjm^^ life. The Denver Public 

Schools maintain that they can best undertake such a responsi- 

making the life concerns of pupils the central theme of the 

recognizing that individual concerns and social concerns 
are interdependent; 

making functional guidance an integral part of all educa- 
tional activities; 


evaluating the school program in_tenns of the personal 

anosociai growtbuot pupils; 

organizing the school program to reveal the relationships 

of learning; 

providing a close, direct, woriong^ relation gMp-Jw^h- the 

This philosophy has guided the Denver schools in setting up the 
objectives of their program. . . ." 2 

The chief developments in general school life in the 
Eight- Year Study grew out of i^^e^rgjngjgoncegt^T dem- 
ocratic life and education. It gave direction to changes in 
school administration, in home-school relations, in the 
teacher's role in the school, and in the student's part in the 
life of the school-society. 

Administration Becomes 
Democratic Leadership 

School administration in the United StatesJhas 

cratic^b}andLlaxge, rather than democratic. Administration 
in the schools chosen for the Study ranged all the way from 
autocracy to laissez-faire, with here and there real democ- 
racy in action. These differences are illustrated in the ways 
in which the original proposals for curriculum change were 

In one place the principal, a brilliant and courageous edu- 
cator, prepared an outline of a curriculum departing rad- 
ically from that of the conventional high school. It was 
passively accepted by the teachers. About one-third of the 
teachers and pupils followed the new plan while the other 
two-thirds continued with the traditional work. In another 
school the principal gave permission to 6 of the 90 teachers 
to inaugurate curriculum changes which they had planned. 
Two hundred and twenty pupils in the school of 2500 were 

2 Denver Schools, ibid. 


involved. The principal had not shared with the teachers in 
the thinking which led to changes in the curriculum, nor did 
he understand very clearly what the new plans involved. 
However, the six teachers were among the best in the school, 
so he told them to go ahead. In a third school the principal 
and teachers had met for two hours each week for a year to 
reconsider the school's purposes and practices and to plan 
together the changes which should be made for all students. 

The history of these cases is illuminating. The brilliant 
plan conceived by the first principal came to grief because 
the teachers did not believe in it. It was his, not theirs. In 
the second case, the work of the six teachers was severely 
handicapped because of misunderstanding and criticism by 
other teachers and parents, and because of the principal's 
unwillingness or inability to give the pioneering teachers the 
support they needed. The plans of the third school were car- 
ried on satisfactorily, with modifications from time to time 
as the principal and all teachers continued to study, plan, 
work, and evaluate co-operatively. 

The role of democratic leader is more difficult than that 
of benevolent autocrat. The school Heads found that it ex- 
acted patience and wisdom. Especially did it require faith 
in the intelligence and good will of teachers, pupils, and 
parents. One group of teachers writes this of their relation- 
ship with their principal: "The principal works co-opera- 
tively with the faculty. It is his responsibility to free teachers 
for the best use of their talents/' 3 This statement now char- 
acterizes the spirit of most administrators in the Thirty 
Schools and indicates, in part, the role they attempted to 
play as democratic leaders. 

In such a role, most of them realized that teachers, like 
other human beings, need a sense of security in their work. 
8 Tower Hill School. 


Tenure security of livelihood is not enough. The admin- 
istrators in the participating schools saw that they must 
create conditions in which teachers dared to be honest in 
expressing their convictions. The spirit of adventure was 
encouraged. Teachers in most of the schools were made to 
realize that they were not in danger of disapproval or criti- 
cism if they tried new ways, even if they did not always 
succeed. In most cases, they knew with certainty that every 
serious, well-considered departure from the conventional 
way of doing things had the backing of the principal and 
that he would stand with them if criticism followed or if 
the results were not all that were expected. 

In all aspects of the school, admmistrajiQiii&^ 
hindrance to progresses, one school superintendent writes, 
"Administration frequently, by its inertia, its traditional pat- 
terns and solutions, has held up the development of the 
work of teaching and guidance to which it owes its sole 
excuse for being. It is inevitable that some change in admin- 
istrative organization must be effected before many vital 
changes in the curriculum can be accomplished." 4 

From the beginning, one of the most pressing of adhninis- 
trative problems was that of providing time for teachers to 
study arid pl qn together. Tn most schools principals and 
teachers are fully occupied in the school day. There is little 
opportunity for conference. Every teacher knows that an 
hour late in the afternoon is not a good time for constructive 
thinking. Here, then, was a problem calling for imagination 
on the part of the administrator. 

One school solved the problem with some satisfaction by 
meeting for two hours one evening each week. This meet- 
ing was preceded by a late afternoon hour of exercise, then 
dinner together. Another device found satisfactory in sev- 

4 Sydney Rowland, Radnor High School. 


eral schools is that of beginning school in the morning at, 
say, nine o'clock instead of eight-fifteen. Teachers come at 
eight and have an uninterrupted hour for conference as a 
whole faculty or in committees. Students take responsibility 
for building and playgrounds before nine. Other arrange- 
ments have been worked out in other schools. Whatever 
plan is adopted, the importance of finding time for delibera- 
tion cannot be over-emphasized. 

If it is essential that the staff of an individual school co- 
operate in setting up purposes and in planning ways to 
achieve them, it is equally necessary that the schools which 
comprise a city school system should find ways of working 
together for common ends. Although there should be dif- 
ferences among the schools, growing out of differences in 
home background, interests, needs and purposes of the 
student body, the major goals should be the same through- 
out the city. To secure the necessary co-operative planning, 
various administrative devices have been developed among 
the Thirty Schools. One of the most effective plans is The 
School Policies Council, functioning in somewhat different 
ways in Denver, Tulsa, Des Moines, and Shaker Heights. 5 
Representatives of all the schools unite with the superin- 
tendent and central administrative group to bring essential 
unity into the work of the schools. 

The strength of such an organization depends largely 
upon the sincerity of the superintendent's belief in demo- 
cratic principles and processes. One important tenet of dem- 
ocratic administration is that action should follow full de- 
liberation. Sometimes after teachers and administrators had 
studied a problem at length and had decided upon a course 
of action, nothing was done. The changes agreed upon were 
not made and no explanation was forthcoming, The inevi- 
5 Vol. II, Exploring the Curriculum, Chap. VI. 


table result was a feeling on the part of teachers that their 
time and energy given to co-operative planning were wasted. 
On the other hand, when changes were made as planned, 
teachers were encouraged to further creative thought and 

The resources of administration were challenged in an- 
other area as the schools attempted to know their boys 
and girls better. How could teachers be "free for the best 
creative use of their talents" in this respect? Everyone real- 
ized in schools generally, especially in the larger ones, that 
many a pupil failed and no one knew why; that many a girl 
dropped out of school and no teacher knew why; that 
many a student accomplished much less than his ability 
called for and no one knew the reason. Many a boy, perhaps 
undernourished, perhaps emotionally upset, came to school 
from an unhappy home, but no one at school knew. 

The Thirty Schools recognized that some way must be 
found by which each pupil should be well known by atfleast 
one teacher. They took seriously this obligation of knowing 
their students well, and several effective ways were found 
to meet it. Such arrangements as these were devised in vari- 
ous schools: 

The counselor or home-room teacher h^^mo^JfrQ the 

teacher of his home-ronm grrmpin pn^ nr mnm...snhjftcts. 

The counselor continued with the same group of stu- 
dents, not just for a semester nr year, hiitipr two and 
often three years. 

Instead of a formal report of grades sent to the stu- 
dent's home without his previous knowledge, ^care- 
fully written^ateg^nt of his progress wasjrepared 

jointly by adviser and student. This often led to a con- 

j .,,.- , ,/ , . ,^M^ ....................... ...I .I, _ 

ference attended by counselor, parents, and pupil, re- 


suiting almost always in greater knowledge and under- 

The counselor visited each student's, home,, at least 


Organization of teachers around groups of students 
with whom they all were working supplanted, to a con- 
siderable extent, the traditional departmental organiza- 
tion around subjects. 

In some of the large high schools a smaller school 
within the larger one was organized. Thus 6 teachers 
became responsible for 210 students for the greater 
part of the school day. Each teacher was counselor of 
35 students, and the 6 teachers and the 210 boys and 
girls worked together as a unit. The schedule was ar- 
ranged so that there was flexibility in class grouping 
and so that the six teachers had an hour together for 
conference every day. 

Teachers have learned much about their students by 
^ -the 

JStudy^JBy using these instruments of evaluation, de- 
signed to measure growth in reflective thinking, social 
sensitivity, extent and depth of interests and apprecia- 
tions, teachers discovered many significant facts which 
might not have been revealed otherwise. 

Perhaps the most effective way of knowing and coun- 
seling individuals has been found by those schools 
which have developed core programs dealing with the 
common concerns and problems of their students^ Jhe 
counselor is also the "core" teacher. Two hours each 
day are usually devoted to the units which comprise 
the core cumculum. 7 Thus the counselor inevitably 

6 See Chap. IV; also Vol. Ill, Appraising and Recording Student Progress. 

7 For discussion of the core curriculum, see Chap. Ill, pp. 57-61. 


becomes aware of the students' concerns, for they are 
the subjects of study and investigation. And as he enters 
into their lives through helping them with their prob- 
lems of living, he becomes truly their counselor, guide, 
and friend. 

Home and School 
Work Together 

The creation of a high school appropriate to democratic 
society involves not only fundamental change in school 
administration, but also ejffectiyff ^coUabpration of home and 
school Few "rf the Thirty Schools realized fully in the be- 
ginning that changes in the school cannot "be^satisjFactorily 
madej&dii^ parents. 

Most parents of the present high school generation went 
to high school for at least a year. They think of it as they 
knew it when they were students. Anything different from 
their own school experience tends to disturb them. When 
their sons and daughters tell of "integrated subjects," "core 
courses/' "culture epochs/' excursions for community study, 
teacher-pupil planning, and the like, parents wonder what 
in the world is going on at school. They are inclined to have 
confidence in the teachers, but these strange things cause 
doubts to arise. Most parents want schools to be alive and 
to make progress, but they want to be sure that established 
curriculums and ways of teaching are not changed without 
good reason and that the new ways are sensible and sound. 
Of course, every school has a few patrons who object vio- 
lently and noisily to any change from "the good old days 
of the little red school-house on the hill." 

If principal, teachers, and students have one concept of 
education and parents quite another, misunderstanding, con- 
flict, and unhappiness are inevitable. To avoid such misfor- 


tune, many of the Thirty Schools arranged frecjuent conf er- 
with pnrnnts for full explanation of ohftPgSSLJjo JKat 
flnrl gfTinnT -might work in harmony. More important 
still, some of the schools 8 brought parents into effective par- 
ticipation with teachers and students in studying the func- 
tion of the school in the life of the community and in formu- 
lating guiding principles. Where this was done, school and 
home moved forward together. 9 

Through general parent-teacher meetings, grade parent 
conferences, small group discussions, and individual teacher- 
parent interviews the school's work was interpreted so that 
doubts were dissipated through understanding. Some of the 
schools have organized parent groups to study major educa- 
tional issues. Out of such study the most reactionary parent 
often becomes a vigorous advocate of change and a strong 
supporter of innovations in school practice. Usually the ex- 
treme conservative in education is one who does not know 
young people well. He has not entered into their lives or 
faced with them the serious problems which confront them. 
The schools startled many a hidebound parent and teacher 
out of his complacency by having him visit a few of the 
miserable homes from which some boys and girls come to 
Belief in education and faith in its 

universal in American life. No phase of our common life 
has greater appeal to our people. In every community there 
are many men and women able and ready to serve the cause 
of education. Schools are learning through experience how 
to draw upon these rich human resources for counsel and 

8 Bronxville, Dalton, Des Moines, John Burroughs, Shaker Heights, Tower 
Hill, and others. 

9 Vol. II, Exploring the Curriculum, Chap. VI. 


Teachers Attain New Dignity and 
Worth through Participation 

The teacher has always had the leading role in schools 
everywhere. In democracy's high school his part becomes 
even more important. He does not merely play his assigned 
part; he helps select the play and is concerned with the 
whole production. Less figuratively, democratic education 
involves the individual teacher in the whole program oFflie 
school. He no longer, works in isolation. He shares with 
administrators and other teachers in determining the school's 
principles and purposes, in formulating policies and in put- 
ting them into practice, and in building the curriculum. 

In a school governed by the autocratic tradition the 
teacher was assigned a subject to teach. He was told by the 
"authorities" what textbook to use, the number of pages to 
be assigned, the amount of work to be "covered" by the end 
of the term. He was seldom invited to consider anything 
outside his immediate task, and almost never was he per- 
mitted to offer any sort of criticism, no matter how construc- 
tive it might be. 

In the Thirty Schools teachers were brought into full shar- 
ing in the general life of the school. This involved much 
more co-operative thought and action than before. Many 
teachers found this difficult. Some few were unwilling or 
unable to work happily with others, but the great majority 
did, to the advantage of the school and themselves. _Bj2 
studying and planning with others, teachers widened their 
o\vn^bgrizons andgnnched their own lives. Narrow subject 
specialization had limited their interests. Collaboration en- 
abled them to understand other fields more fully and to see 
the relationship ot their own ^Pgg^gJ^ 5 ^ to the whole work 
of the school. 

It was in curriculum revision especially that the teachers 


entered more significantly into the general life of the school. 
To make curriculum changes intelligently it was necessary 
to reconsider the educational principles^which thg^school 
.hefd and the practices which, it followed. Participation by 
the teacher in this fundamental reconsideration of the whole 
range of the school's activity gave him a sense of whole- 
school responsibility. 

In almost all of the participating schools the changes that 
have been made in curriculum and teaching procedures have 
come through such faculty collaboration. Syllabi for courses 
are no longer prepared in the superintendent's or principal's 
office and handed out to teachers. In some of the member 
schools no decision affecting the general life of the school 
is made except by faculty consideration. In a few schools 
an elected committee of teachers shares with the principal 
in allocating the school's income even in such matters as 
teacher's salaries. This more extensive participation in cur- 
riculum building, policy making, and school management 
adds to teachers' loads, but they testify that it is worth much 
more in growth than it costs in time and energy. 

Students Meet the Challenge 
of Responsibility 

As application of the democratic principle of participation 
to general school life has expanded the realm of teacher 
action, so it has given the students a larger share in their 
own education. Because they know that young people de- 
velop strength bv taking responsibilities, tSe Thirty Schools 
have provided greater opportunit}HFor them ^o^shs^J^ 
*6cfyool management and curriculum ^%ming. Of the many 
ways of v ^aj^_re.ST^|jbil^g_jo--called "* < stu3ent'^govern- 
ment" is most conmion. In tfie schools of the Eight- Year 
Study students work with teachers in co-operative rather 


than student government. Education demands all the wis- 
dom that young people and adults together can bring to 
the task. 

Students share in many different activities suclTas pro- 
tecting younger pupils at street crossings, regulating student 
use of automobiles, caring for school property, serving as 
hosts to school visitors, managing dining halls, corridors and 
study rooms, setting up exhibits of school work, interpreting! 
the work of the school to parents, planning school assembly 
programs, developing cordial relations with other schools, 
and planning for the general social life of the whole school. 
In some places student committees serve jointly with faculty 
committees on such an important problem as curriculum re- 
idslon. Students welcomeTEEe opportunity to co-operate~with 
teachers in trying to find solutions to the most difficult sorts 
of problems, and their contributions are invaluable. ^_ r _ 

The^most significant aspect of student sharing in the 
Thirty Schools is la bgJoundJnJB^ 
generally pupil participation has been limited to affairs else- 
where. At the door of the classroom the student entered 
into another world in which he did more or less well what 
he was told to do. "Why," teachers asked, "shouldn't the 
students take an active part in planning the work to be 
done? After all, they are the ones most concerned." Not in 
all classes, but in many of them, the democratic principle 
of sharing has become established in practice. Pupils join 
with the teacher in deciding what goals are to be sought, in 
selecting the steps to be taken to reach the desired ends, 
and in setting up tests or measures to find out whether ob- 
jectives have been reached. 

This change in the pupil's place in the general life of the 
school and in the classroom enhances his sense of his own 
worth, develops his habit of responsibility, and challenges 


the most vigorous use of his intelligence. A notable example 
of such results is found in one of the schools of the Study. 
When the Student Council learned that the faculty was 
studying the democratic way of life in relation to the work 
of the school, the Council members embarked upon a 
study of the same topic. Out of this study there came a 
statement entitled The Philosophy of the Student Council. 
In this remarkable document the young men and women 
of the Council set forth their own concepts of democracy 
and proposed steps which the Council and school should 
take in order to achieve a more satisfactory school-society. 
They stated that ''there are two fundamental aspects of de- 
mocracy which are generally accepted. First, democracy is 
based upon respect for the worth of fh fi individual. . . . 
Second, democracy is a theory and a system for co-operative 
living." Then the council listed the ways in which they 
could promote individual welfare throughout the school, 
develop more opportunities for social relationships, ease fi- 
nancial burdens for those whose participation in school af- 
fairs was limited or denied because of lack of money, 
increase voluntary obedience to necessary regulations, 
encourage participation in public affairs, and develop in all 
students respect for the rights and opinions of others. These 
high school youth were thinking as seriously as their teachers 
were, and they felt as deeply their responsibility for the wel- 
fare of the school. 

No one of the Thirty Schools has yet achieved democracy 
in every phase of its life. They are not complacent; they 
are still striving for clearer understanding and better ways, 
but they know more surely where they are going than they 

10 New Trier Township High School, Vol. V, Thirty Schools Tell Their 


did eight years ago. They have progressed in making the 
general life of the school consistent with the democratic 
ideal. In administration., in home and school relations, in the 
roles of teachers and students the American dream is find- 
ing greater realization. 

The spirit of adventure which gave a tingle of excitement 
to the work of the early years grew less and less as the 
teachers came to grips with the difficult problem of trans- 
lating an inspiring ideal into daily practice. They had 
"mounted up on wings as eagles"; soon they had to have 
the fortitude to "walk and not faint." The next chapter tells 
the story of their struggle with the great daily problem of 
what to teach and how best to teach. 

Chapter III 


C <CC C ( C- C g- ( KO C ( C<( KC ( C<C < C- < C C < < C- C- 

By this time the reader is probably asking, What, changes 
in studies did the Thirty Schools actually make? Is the work 
of the classroom really different from what it was before 
the Study began? If a visitor were to happen into one of 
these schools, would he soon know that something new was 

Traditional Subjects Gain 

New Vitality 

It must be confessed that a stranger would need some 
time and insight to discover in some of the schools anything 
significantly different from what he would find in any live 
high school. He would almost certainly note an atmosphere 
of friendly, informal co-operation and many changes in ways 
of teaching, but the subject matter might seem to be the 
same as always. He would observe classes in science, foreign 
language, mathematics, history, and English as elsewhere; 
but investigation would probably reveal many departures 
from the conventional content of these courses. For ex- 
ample, the science class might be studying the technique of < 
solving problems, not only in the field of science but in 
many other phases of life. The class in Spanish might be in- 
vestigating the influence of geography upon the life and 
character of South American peoples. The group in mathe- 
matics might be applying principles of logic to an analysis 
of a local problem of housing or conservation. The class in 



history might be drawing up a statement for the next school 
assembly, outlining the issues involved in the annual elec- 
tion of student leaders. The English class might be analyz- 
ing recent newspapers and magazines to discover ways and 
means by which propaganda molds public opinion. 

The visitor would find, of course, that the worthwhile 
content of traditional courses had been retained, but Jig 
would learn that the teachers had re-examined their workLin 
the light of clearerpurpose and that niuch new subject 
{natter had supplanted that which Ead ceased to be of inter- 
est or value"t6 students^ An illustration of enriched content 
of traditional subjects is found in one school's report on its 
work in Latin. This school writes: 

Latin forms and grammar were never taught here for their own 
sakes but instead for the purpose of reading Latin as readily as 
possible. . . . Already ,much effort was expended on English, 
derivations from Latin words and roots.' 'Tills "concern wife Eng- 
lish vocabulary now has become one of our major interests in 
these first years of Latin. As much time is expended on this as 
onthe Latin itself^ 

Finally the content of these courses is based on reading of 
material of some significance to later work in history and other 
subjects. It is not ... a year (or two) on Latin forms, grammar, 
sentences, and idioms followed by a year of Caesar. We long 
ago reduced the Caesar content to a hah year and selected mate- 
rial of real use: the stories of his crossings into Britain and his 
accounts of Gallic and German customs, et cetera. 

For a number of years, the material to be read in the junior 
Latin class . , . has been the subject of searching experiment. It 
is years since such stupid material as the Catiline Orations has 
even been looked into. We use the best parts of three ably written 
and edited texts of Latin writers. . . . We read a number of 
Cicero's letters twenty or twenty-five and about the same 
amount of material from Pliny's letters in the early Christian 


period. We chose essays, anecdotes, philosophy, political and 
legal speeches; and most interesting of all the first two and 
a half months of the junior year are spent on a fascinating and 
interesting period in Cicero's legal career. . . , 1 

Here one finds many changes from the traditional first year 
of grammar, second year of Caesar's Commentaries, and 
third year of Cicero's orations. 

It would be discovered, also, in some schools which 
seemed to have changed only slightly, that gach older stu- 
dent was engaged in^a serious, independent, long-time in- 

advises selection of a topic which requires personal investi- 
gation, interviews, and work with one's hands. The report of 
the investigation is not always in writing; it may take form 
in an art product, in a musical composition, an original play 
production. Schools report investigations dealing with the 
Maine coast in literature, Philadelphia housing, examples of 
good and bad thinking ranging from a Supreme Court opin- 
ion to a vitriolic editorial, American Negro poetry, plans for 
a modern house, making a motion picture on conservation, 
co-operatives, community health, and numerous other sub- 
jects of genuine student concern. The schools in which these 
extended investigations and elaborate reports are encour- 
aged emphasize their value as experience in methods of 
elementary research and in seeing a long, hard task through 
to completion. 

The visitor would find in many of these more conservative 
of the Thirty Schools somewhat less required work in for- 
eign language and mathematics; but some students, having 
marked aptitude and interest in these studies, go far beyond 
requirements and enter college ready for sophomore work 
in these fields. More_opportunity is proyicld-fe* L -stedy of the 

1 North Shore Country Day School. 


natural and social sciences and the arts, including public 
speaking, dramatics, home economics, and industrial arts. 
There is also greaterprovision for continuing subjects for 
B3&re tharfone year. Because most colleges would allow only 
one entrance credit in chemistry, for example, the secondary 
school limited that subject to one year. Now the student with 
special scientific bent often has a second year of chemistry 
before going to college. 

These and other changes in content of courses have been 
made in the schools which have taken least advantage of the 
freedom granted to participants in the Study. They may seem 
of minor importance, but no one can fail to be impressed by 
the testimony of principals and teachers in these schools. 
They say emphatically that changes run deep, far beneath 
anything which casual observation can discover on the sur- 
face. One school writes, "There are few if any of our class- 
rooms which have not been enriched and invigorated from 
the participation of the school with the Experiment/' An- 
other reports: "It will be seen that our set-up is essentially 
traditional, but a great change has come in the spirit of 
teaching. In certain subject areas little progress has been 
made. In others much progress has come about. The school 
has grown educationally and spiritually during the years of 
the Study." 

Barriers Are Broken Down 

Thus far in this chapter an attempt has been made to in- 
dicate the kinds of subject-matter change in the participating 
schools which departed least from convention. In presenting 
now the more marked innovations which were made in 
other schools, it is realized that it is impossible to place the 
schools in sharply divided groupings. This has been at- 
tempted more than once, always with unsatisfactory results. 


Schools, like persons, possess so many various characteristics 
that any classification almost surely gives a false and dis- 
torted picture. To see any one of the Thirty Schools clearly 
the reader should turn to Volume V of this Report, Thirty 
Schools Tell Their Story, where each school has given an 
account of its own experience in the Study. 

Although no definite grouping of the schools is possible, 
departures from the conventional high school program have 
been much greater in some than in others. The visitor who 
might have difficulty in discovering change in some of the 
schools would realize at once that distinct innovations had 
been inaugurated in others. In all probability, finding him- 
self with a teacher and class, he would be unable to recog- 
nize the subject as Physics or Chemistry or Biology. Certain 
facts of physics and chemistry and important principles of 
biology are used in the work going on, but the center of 
organization is something other than the internal logic of 

any "subject." T^Wc; qnrl ^j^nJ-g arP driving jifjinmp- 

thing rnm^ifi^Qjf*^ *^ *TiAm jfoo^ learning the content of 
physics, chemistry, ftf Km|ngy What is this more important 
goal? It may be that they are investigating the effect of cer- 
tain vitamins upon growth, or how and why the city keeps 
its water supply pure, or the nature and effect of certain 
kinds of artificial lighting. The immediate purpose is satis- 
of the uilsclesire to^know 

the larger-purpose mayj^-Q ^velopJaabits of criticaTdiink- 


effect relationships. In conducting the investigations the class 
raws upon physics, biology, and chemistry, using facts and 
principles, regardless of the specific subject or division to 
which they logically belong. 

To illustrate specifically, the following quotation is taken 
from the report of one of the public schools: 


Science gives man, first, a knowledge of himself and his relation- 
ship to other living things; then knowledge about the physical 
universe in which he lives; and last of all, some conception of 
his place in this universe of time and space. 

We have divided our science sequences in the three years into 
those aspects which concern all individuals, not just those who 
are to be specialists in some scientific field. In the tenth grade we 
study the human body, its nature, its functions, its evolution; in 
the eleventh grade we center attention on the nature of the en- 
vironment and the uses man has been able to make of natural 
forces . . . ; in the twelfth grade, we consider the relationship 
of man to his universe of time and space, including in our study 
the development of man's knowledge of the earth and other 
bodies in space, with particular stress on the constant change 
that is going on in the universe. . . . 

In the tenth grade, activities are deliberately anthropocentric 
and are focused on the personal life of the individual adolescent 
boy and girl. These activities concern the daily life experiences 
of the student, from the diet of the athlete, to the responsibility 
of the individual for the health of the community. . . . 

The eleventh grade course involves a survey of the physical 
environment and an intensive study of some aspects of the nature 
of matter, of the changes in matter, chemical and physical, and 
of the nature of the various energies heat, electricity, energy 
waves, both sound and radiant. It includes also a study of the 
uses man has made of the forces of nature, the effect of these 
applications of his knowledge on the life of our day; the possi- 
bilities of changing still further many conditions of life by 
further discoveries of the mysteries of matter and energy. 

The twelfth grade course begins with an exploration of time and 
space the macrocosm and with a critical evaluation of the 
methods and limitations of science. It includes the study of the 
nature of the earth and the changes in its surface and in life 
forms; the atmosphere . . . ; the moon; the planets and their 
satellites; the sun . . . ; the frontiers of science. 

Understandings such as these should result in an appreciation 
of the interrelatedness of the fields of science; a willingness to 
experiment and to accept the conclusions reached from experi- 


ments; a critical attitude toward authorities; an attitude of 
suspended judgment; recognition that all theories are tentative 
and all truth relative; an awareness of the possibilities open to 
man through his understanding of the laws of life, and an abiding 
sense of his dependence upon the creative force which lies beyond 
and above his reach and his vision. 2 

Some of the participatingschools are committed to this 
brogcFEeH type ofjiLLDicuEmi. The field of science has been 
used here for illustration, but this same principle guides in 
determining content and organization in all other fields. In- 
stead of studying meticulously separated courses in arithme- 
tic, algebra, geometry, and trigonometry, the student learns 
the mathematics involved in the^solution of the problem in 

id. SSoTwMi oSierfields similarly organized, the curricu- 
consists of the broad fields of science, mathematics, lan- 
guage and literature, the arts, social studies, health and 
physical education, instead of the numerous "subjects'" of the 
usual high school curriculum. The advantages and possibili- 
/ties of this plan are presented forcefully in the Report of the 
Progressive Education Association's Commission on The Sec- 
ondary School Curriculum. 3 

Almost all the schools were trying from tTi^4^g 1>nl ling^ of 
the Study to find ways of Tweakin pwn_jhb.a... art-ifipial bar- 

iers w 

Dwering or eliminating sharply divid- 

ing arriers wHEn^a broad field such as science, mathe- 
matics, social studies, was not uncommon in schools gener- 
ally. But^man^ of the Thirty Schools and some others 
attemp?5STogo fnrfTi^ fo/ firming down 

teobroad field from hmadjEeli Sometimes attempts were 
made to" combine science and mathematics. This plan was 

2 Bronxville High School, Vol. V, Thirty Schools Tell Their Story. 

3 V. T. Thayer, Caroline B. Zacby, Ruth Kotmsky, Reorganizing Second- 
ary Education, D. Appleton-Century Company, New York, 1939. 


usually abandoned early, for it was found that the relatively 
meager mathematics content needed in the usual high school 
science courses could be quickly taught when needed and 
that the attempt to unite the two subjects had no sound 
basis. The planmost frequently tried was the fusion of Eng- 
lish and the social studies. This combination, with the arts' 
sometimes included, proved to be more satisfactory and 
profitable. A few schools have found ways to fuse English 
and social studies into genuine unity, but some schools aban- 
doned that scheme because of difficulties of organization. 
Usually the obvious and accustomed chronological organiza- 
tion of history became the basis of organization of the uni- 
fied courses. Soon it was discovered that English became 
"the handmaiden* 7 of history, that the literature of some peri- 
ods was too scarce to warrant spending much time on it, 
and that it became necessary to resort to artificial integra- 
tion which was deemed worse than the evils which fusion 
sought to eliminate. 

Many teachers began to suspect that there was something 
fundamentally wrong in attempting to "put subjects to- 
gether/' They were sure that the vicious divisions which 
kept teachers and students from discovery of the underlying 
unity of all knowledge should and can be eliminated,Jbpt 
they were equally sure that a deeper and sounder foundation 
for integration must be estabHshgd. The visitor would have 
found in 1933 enthusiasm for fusion of subjects, but had he 
come again in 1936 he would have found doubt, discourage- 
ment, and search for something better. 

Students Learn the Ways 
of Other Peoples 

In more recent years the visitor would have discovered in 
several schools that a whole culture had become the subject 


of study. Teacher and students together had decided to try 
to see and understand life in the Eastern Mediterranean 
about 500 B.C., France of the thirteenth century, or Mexico 
of the last twenty years. Of course, no complete or exhaustive 
study of any culture is possible by high school students, just 
as no complete or exhaustive study of Greek life is possible 
in the conventional course in ancient history. However, by 
investigating the ways in which a people got their daily 
bread, provided their clothing and shelter, organized their 
communities, dealt with offenders against the common good, 
educated their youth, defended themselves against their ene- 
mies, amused themselves, and conducted their home life, 
the high school student identifies himself with the people 
studied and becomes one of them for the time being. Above 
all, he enters into the thought and ideas of the people he is 
studying. By reading what they wrote, by understanding 
what and how they worshiped, and by seeing the products 
of their self-expression in art, the student begins to know, in 
a truly significant way, a civilization that is related in many 
ways to the culture of his own place and time. 

One school in its unit on China studied "Chinese poetry 
and drama, modern books about China, Chinese painting, 
sculpture, ceramics and architecture. . . , The class was 
privileged in having personal experiences with Chinese peo- 
ple, as for example, Mme. Lin Yutang, wife of the Chinese 
philosopher, Chinese dancers and musicians, and Chinese 
students . . . who talked with the class about the problems 
which the Chinese people now face/' 4 In a neighboring 
school a class "spent eight to ten weeks being Greeks. . . . 
They did not merely study Greece; they were Greeks. They 
lived, worked and thought as Spartans, Athenians, Corin- 
thians, Syracusans, Thebans and Milesians. There was no 
4 Horace Mann School. 


costume play acting. It was their minds that they 'dressed up/ 
and the major problems arising out of Greek life were imme- 
diately given modern American application. One question, 
for example, which occupied the group was why there had 
never been a United States of Greece, although there had 
been a Greek democracy." 5 
The schools which have developed this Culture-Epoch 

study constantly to our own life and time. The common prob- 
lems of life must be faced by every people in every genera- 
tion. America faces them today. Are we solving them more 
wisely than other peoples did in other times? 

No wonder the visitor to a class which is exploring a cul- 
ture finds it impossible to identify the "subject." It is lan- 
guage and literature, art, music, civics, history, economics, 
mathematics, science, and more. No one teacher is fully com- 
petent to lead the class in the exploration of all the major 
aspects of any culture. Therefore, the visitor may be sur- 
prised to find two or more teachers collaborating in guiding 
the work. He might learn that every department of the high 
school is involved before the study is finished. 

Careers Shape the 

In preference to the study of cultures, jjj:ew schools hold 
that the^^idaniLS^EI^Q^i 11 ^ 11 ^ interest in a career provfdes 
basis for genumejntegration. Each boy and girl is 
encouraged to find "some field of human activity in which he 
takes a special interest, for which he feels he has special 
aptitude and in which he sees adults earning their living in 
the real world outside school. These fields may be concrete 

5 Lincoln School, Democracy's High School, Bureau of Publications, 
Teachers College, Columbia University, 1941. See also Six Greek Cities by 
B. J. R. Stolper and Henry C. Fenn, Bureau of Publications, Teachers Col- 
lege, Columbia University, 1939. 


fine arts, business administration, pre-engineering, euthenics 
and they may be as conventionally intellectual as mathe- 
matics, French, Greek or history." 6 For the student whose 
vocational interest is art, science obviously becomes signifi- 
cant in relation to his career. Other subjects take on new 
meaning as he sees their implications for his work. This de- 
sirable result is obtained only when the program of studies 
is arranged so that adaptation of work to each individual's 
predominant interest is made possible. 

The visitor who wants to see all the members of the senior 
class of a certain participating school 7 would have to travel 
all over town, for many are at work in various places and 
occupations for two weeks at a time throughout the senior 
year. They are working at all sorts of jobs, from general 
clerking to pattern making. These are students who are not 
going to college. They are trying to make places for them- 
selves in the economic life of the community. Jjift school is 
trying to help them, first, by arranging for experience on the 
job; second, by relating their school w 

school they are studying labor unions, 
collective bargaining, social security, old age pensions, un- 
employment insurance, housing, hospitalization, propa- 
ganda, possible uses of leisure time, crime, intelligent buy- 
ing, and numerous other topics directly or indirectly related 
to their future work and citizenship in the community. The 
employer reports to the school concerning thejpupiTs native 
ability ,in th,e jsyojjc he is^dqing^his^prQgress, adaptability, 
initiative, politeness, ability to get alpng ^th fellow workers, 
willingness to take adviqe ap4 orcJerSy. ability to work inde- 
pen3ently without waiting for suggestions, and desire to 

6 Fieldston School, Vol. V, Thirty Schools Tell Their Story. 
7 Radnor High School. For complete details, see report of Radnor High 
Schoolj ibid. 


lean^and^advance. These reports combined with school re- 
ports provi3e^tEebasis for genuine guidance and profitable 
conference with the student and his parents. School studies 
come to focus on the student and his career. English, social 
studies, mathematics, science, the arts are no longer isolated 
fields of doubtful value. They become related sources of 
knowledge and understanding as they contribute to the stu- 
dent's purposes of making a living and doing useful work in 
which he finds growth and satisfaction. 

The Common Problems of American Youth 
Become the Heart of the Curriculum 

If the reader could spend a year in the Thirty Schools, he 
would doubtless linger in certain ones where other strange 
things are going on. There he would see a group of boys and 
girls meeting for two hours or more every day with the same 
teacEerTThe chances are that they have been meeting thus 
with this teacher for two, perhaps three, years. What have 
they been doing with all this time together? 

Let us suppose that this is a class in a Denver high school. 
The teacher has been studying and planning for a long time 
with other teachers from his own school and from the other 
14 junior and senior high schools of the city. Together they 
prepared for the "core curriculum/' Although the teacher 
and his classes would plan together for their work and make 
final selection of the topics to be studied, the following quo- 
tation from the Denver report indicates the range and 
wealth of possibilities of their work: 

In order to understand the kinds of experiences which the core 
curriculum attempts to provide for high school pupils, one must 
recognize that the program is concerned with a continuous at- 
tack upon the problems which are persistent in the lives of 
adolescents as members of a democratic society. Units developed 
around such significant problems become the program of studies. 


Each unit is an organizaf^ a 

development, andTan enjL Eaclxairn> bj^jj^^ to which 

tbe^$geriences chosen. . are related; The problems or areas of 
activity listed below are those which have been used by all five 
senior high schools in planning units for the core program. No 
one high school has attempted to cover them all; but during the 
last three years of the Study, units in every area have been de- 
veloped somewhere in the system. No attempt has been made in 
Denver to allocate these units finally to any grade level. They 
have implications for sophomores, juniors, and seniors. The em- 
phases of the unit developed to meet the problem depend upon 
the needs, interests, and capacity of the group of pupils who are 
concerned, the resources available, and the creative ability of the 
teacher or teachers who direct the study. 8 

Space does not permit more than a sampling of the exten- 
sive list of activities which comprise this program. 9 However, 
the following problems, "arranged according to areas of liv- 
ing, are indicative of the character of the work undertaken 
in the various core curriculums of Denver.'* 

A. Personal Living 

1. Understanding ourselves through 

a. Discovering our interests, aptitudes, and powers 

b. Measuring the extent of our information in important 
areas of knowledge 

c. Analyzing our use of time and effort and planning for 
more constructive ways of living 

d. Becoming aware of our vocational interests and general 
vocational aptitudes 

2. Developing interests and appreciations which we already 
have and exploring others in such fields as 

a. Reading 

b. Gardening 

c. Painting, modeling 

d. Singing, dancing 

8 Denver Schools, ibid. 

9 For complete list, see Denver report. 


e. Nature study 

f. Physical sciences 

3. Developing maturing appreciations of the resources which 

make life worth living, in 

a. The creative expression of others in the fields of plastic- 
graphic arts, music, drama, literature, etc. 

b. The world of nature and science 

c. Learning how to make the most of ourselves in appear- 
ance, poise, and social adequacy, through emphasis upon 
health, grooming, cleanliness, order, and fitness 

4. Developing a philosophy of life. 

B. Immediate personal-social relationships 

1. Orientation to the school through 

a. Becoming acquainted with the pupils in the group and 
with those who are leaders in the student life of the 

b. Becoming acquainted with the teachers and admin- 

c. Considering the meaning of education in a democracy 

2. Exploring the problems of living in a modern family through 

a. Determining the responsibilities of every age group in 
such a relationship 

b. Considering the economic problems of the home and 
the budgeting and spending of the family income 

c. Studying the origins of family standards, traditions, and 

3. Studying the problems of human relationship, including 

a. Boy-and-girl relationships 

b. The personal problems of boys 

c. The personal problems of girls 

d. The nature and obligations of the small groups to which 
one belongs 

4. Surveying and evaluating activities and resources for recrea- 
tion of the family or small group 

C. Social-civic relationships 

1. Knowing the community through a study of such areas as 
a. The history of the city and its racial character 


b. Government of the city, including taxation . . . and 
the like 

c. Providing for the cultural growth of the people through 
libraries, symphony societies, museums, schools, and 
the like 

2. Discovering the unique characteristics of American democ- 
racy and comparing them with the other methods of 
political and social organizations of the world . . . This 
would include a study of 

a. The documents of democracy 

b. The lives of our democratic leaders 

c. The place of minority groups in the nation 

3. Facing and attempting to help in the solution of social 

4. Gaining some grasp of international relations and what it 
means to be a citizen of the world, with emphasis upon the 
current scene 

5. Learning how public opinion is formed and the sources of 
information upon which we tend to rely 

D. Economic relationships 

1. Studying ways in which clothing, shelter, food, water, and 
power are produced and distributed 

2. Recognizing and learning how to deal with consumer prob- 

3. Realizing the impact of machine production upon living 
and the possibilities of improving living conditions under a 
machine civilization 

4. Studying the conflicting economic systems of the world and 
the various ways of providing for production and distribu- 

5. Studying the vocational opportunities in the community 
and the nation and studying the individual's special abili- 
ties and capacities in terms of a vocation 

6. Studying the problems of employment in 

a. Training for a job 

b. Applying for a job 

c. Employer-employee relationships 

d. Finding the cultural aspects of vocational life 


With topics such as these our teacher and his boys and 
girls have been engaged. The visitor will note quickly that 
they are unusually busy. As he examines the program for the 
core curriculum, he realizes that it has substance, that here 
are topics of great import to youth which would challenge 
their best abilities and their powers of hard, continuous ef- 
fort. Of course, they could not study all topics that are sug- 
gested. They have selected according to their developing 
concerns and needs. They have read, explored, investigated. 
Together they have searched for knowledge and under- 

As this new work developed, it became necessary to find 
some term to designate it. Since it was not just English or 
social studies or science, but all of these and more, it could 
not be called by any of the conventional subject names _Same 
schools began to use the terms "Stem Course " "Basin 
Course, "General 

iiation "Core Curriculum.^ None of these terms is entirely 
sfactory, but General Education and Core Curriculum, 
jost frequently found in the school reports, are used 

After the visitor has found out what a group of studenta 
do together with oneleacher two hours every_ day for two 

or three years, he will doubtless attempt to learn what these 

boys and girls do with the rest of the school day. Usually 
high school pupils are in school about six hours. What do 
they do with the other four?. $r 

That depends upon the individual. All students share jin 
thfi units of shiHy w>nr^^ 
cation course. For the rest of his work each student's pro- 

f. From the whole range of studies offered 
by the school, choice is made of what is best for him. It 
should be emphasized that the student does not select his 


courses haphazardly or on his own responsibility. There 
have been frequent conferences involving student, parents, 
and advisor. Their combined wisdom is brought to bear 
upon the planning of the student's program. 

For one individual, in addition to his two hours of "gen- 
eral education/' there may be courses in shop-work, mathe- 
matics, and English; for another, the four hours may be 
given to work in foreign language, science, and one of the 
arts. A third, being a slow worker, may need more time for 
/study, so his additional work may be limited to English and 
mathematics. These individual programs change from time 
to time as certain needs are met and others develop. Always 
the student has the guidance of his "core" teacher, not only 
in choosing subjects of study and various sorts of student 
organizations, but in matters of more intimate, personal 

are ^ e tyP es f curriculum revision the visi- 
tor would find in the participating schools. In some the 
changes are limited to the content of conventional subjects. 
In others new content is found in the broad fields type of 
curriculum. In still others the new content is included in 
the study of whole cultures. New subject matter is intro- 
duced in some schools to promote the student's predominant 
career interest. The most marked innovations are found in 
those schools which have developed core curri^^ffis) Strict 
classification of every school into one of these five groups is 
impossible. Several schools, for example, have developed the 
core curriculum, and, at the same time, have modified the 
content of conventional subjects. Since the schools were free 
to inaugurate new programs of study, naturally differences 
among them resulted. 



Although there are differences in emphasis and in the 
nature of the new subject matter, one finds in all the mem- 
ber schools other curriculum developments designed to serve 
purposes which every school deems important. 

Youth Study and Share the Life 
of the Community 

First, the school is drawing close to its community. More 
and more time is given by every school to exploration of the 
physical and human resources of the places in which the 
students live. What the community does and how it func- 
tions are subjects of direct, first-hand study. 

One of the Thirty Schools states that "the value of the 
community as a vast reservoir of social, cultural, vocational, 
economic, industrial, and recreational resources is steadily 
gaining the attention of secondary education in California. 10 
Visits to newspaper plants, factories, farms, libraries, muse- 
ums, social-service and governmental institutions are com- 
mon practice in schools generally. To be of ^greatest value, 
the Thirty Schools have found that such first-band investi- 
gaijpns should be part of a well-planned^study with definite 
purposes clearly understood. In one school, located in Bos- 
ton, the work of the ninth grade centers upon the study of 
the history and present life and problems of that community. 
"We use the city we live in," they say, "as a kind of demon- 
stration laboratory for elementary economics, civics, science 
and architecture." 11 

Another school has carried first-hand study far beyond the 
boundaries of the local community and reports as follows: 

A week end proved necessary for senior high school students 

10 Eagle Rock High School, ibid. 

11 Winsor School, ibid. 


to study certain geological phenomena beyond Manhattan. The 
longer time proved equally valuable for glimpses of rural econ- 
omy. Eight days at the height of a congressional fight in Wash- 
ington were barely enough to introduce juniors and seniors to 
certain aspects of our federal government. A week's trip proved 
an effective experience for twenty-five ninth graders in New 
England country life in the spring; eight days were used when 
fifty ninth graders participated in farm activities as the Berkshire 
farmers prepared for the winter. Eleven days were spent by 
fifty twelfth graders traveling nineteen hundred miles to study the 
socio-economic planning of the Tennessee Valley Authority and 
of certain government and co-operative enterprises in Georgia, 
North Carolina, and Maryland. About the same length of time 
permitted an industrial study in the bituminous coal fields of West 
Virginia. In all these recent enterprises, as much participation 
as possible has been included with observation. 12 

That last sentence suggests a related development: par- 
ticipation. Study of the community often creates a strong 
desire in young people to do something about conditions 
which they have discovered. Usually, however, they find 
their hands tied they can discover no way in which, they 
are permitted to act. 

Ther Thirty Schools have recognized this needjrfyouth 
in A^~adnlt worjji. One schooT re- 

ports 131 that, in connection with the study of recreation in 
the community, a group of students representing the six 
class sections of the high school made a tour of four of the 
city parks. On the trip damage to park property was noted. 
Previously smaller groups had visited these parks and listed 
the improvements needed in each. Following discussion, a 
program of action was agreed upon, and each class section 
elected a member to serve on a park committee. 
The committee drew up a letter to the Park Superintend- 

12 Lincoln School of Teachers College, ibid. 

13 Daniel Webster High School, Tulsa. 


ent pledging to protect park property and asking for die 
improvements which had been agreed upon as reasonable. 
A number of conferences with adults and with several adult 
organizations followed. The co-operation of these groups 
with the students and the Superintendent of Parks resulted 
in these improvements: putting tennis courts in good playing 
condition, installing new playing equipment, making new 
softball diamonds, putting in new horseshoe pitching 
grounds, and planting shade trees. 

In a somewhat different realm, students in another school 
have taken responsible leadership in certain community 
affairs. This school writes: 

During the study of a unit of War and Peace in the senior 
Enterprise, the students wishing to "do something about it all" 
decided that they could perhaps be most effective in the area of 
creating, or moulding, public opinion and prepared a program 
involving some drama and an explanation of world conflicts 
through the use of maps, which they presented to school and 
adult audiences totaling approximately three thousand peo- 
ple. . . . 

Students also have attended adult conferences in Philadelphia 
which have been held on the subjects of housing and peace. They 
have from time to time been invited to neighboring women's clubs 
to conduct discussions concerning such subjects as Americanism, 
relations of movies to education, and ways and means of educat- 
ing for peace. They have also been attending both the adult ses- 
sions and the school round-tables of the Foreign Policy Associa- 
tion. 14 

The Schools Help Young People 
Get Ready to Earn a Living 

Besides greater use of community resmirces arffl inrrfif*^ 
participation by students in local affairs, all tk^ member 
schoolsj^re concernedL^jflijhe^ problem of p 

14 Friends' Central School, ibid. 


people to earn a living, jn the private schools, which send 
almost ^iTgraduates to college, this problem is not as imme- 
diate- or insistent as it is in the large public school. However, 
tke student who goes to college with a well-defined voca- 
tional interest profits thereby, even if he changes his choice 
of career while in college. 

The reader will recall the fact that of six who enter junior 
high school three drop out before completing senior high 
school; and of the three who graduate, only one goes on 
with formal schooling. For five out of six, then, getting a job 
upon leaving school is the number one problem. For millions 
of them there were no jobs. There were few places for them 
in our economic life. The nation's defense program now 
provides work for them. They are needed now. Will they be 
needed when our defenses are completed? Whatever em- 
ployment conditions are at any time, the school admits the 
inescapable responsibility of helping all six the five as well 
as the one to prepare for economic self-support and useful 
service to the community. 

Few schools anywhere have met this responsibility fully. 
All of the Thirty Schools have developed more effective pro- 
cedures in voca5onargui5aiice/inm places this includes 
the study of vocations, conferences with leaders in various 
occupations, and direct investigation of conditions under 
which men and women earn livings. One school holds an 
annual three-day conference on vocations in which pupils, 
parents, and teachers participate. 15 Another, a large public 
high school, arranged for each senior to work each afternoon 
for six weeks in the vocation which he hoped to follow. 18 
Students left school at noon and worked until closing time 
on the job. Their school work was related as closely as pos- 
sible to the job experience. In most cases this work experi- 

15 Dalton School, ibid. 

16 South High School, Denver. 


ence confirmed students in their vocational choices, but for 
some it served to reveal lack of aptitude or distaste for the 
chosen work, thus making possible another choice before it 
was too late. A somewhat similar plan, cited previously in 
this chapter, 17 helps students in another of the Thirty Schools 
to find jobs before leaving school. 

One of the most thorough-going curriculum developments 
designed to help young people get ready to earn a living is 
found in a public high school 18 which sends less than 20 
per cent of its graduates to college. A faculty investigation 
revealed that all the others were under the necessity of 
getting jobs promptly. The teachers learned also that almost 
allgraduates^ of earlier classes had married within thre^ 
^years after leaving school? vVlth these facts before them, 
the teachers declared thatJSe school must prepare these 
boys^and girls tor the twogreat steps just ahead: making 
^Sstablishing a home. 

The result was that the study of these two topics became 
jjjie cbre currigulum QJLthe senior year. The problems ap- 
proach was used and the units of the course were stated in 
the form of student questions, such as, 

How do men and women earn their living in this city 

and region? 
For what general field of work am I best fitted by ability, 

aptitude, and interests? 
How does one go about getting a job? How can I hold 

one when I get it? What causes failure? 
How can I learn and grow by means of my job? 
What shall I do with the money I save? 
How can I use my free time profitably without much 


17 Pp. 56-57. 

18 High Schools, Oakland, California. 


Other questions relative to marriage and home are con- 
sidered and the concluding unit is "Finding Meaning in 

To find answers to their questions the boys and girls made 
first-hand investigations in the community., consulted authori- 
ties, and read extensively. The reading lists contained many 
books for pupils of limited reading ability, but it included., 
also, many mature volumes that would challenge the best 
thought of the ablest high school student. 

Instances such as these that have been cited indicate the 
importance which the Thirty Schools attach to vocational 
preparation. Some of the schools have taken the position 
that the work of the secondary school is not completed 
until each student is satisfactorily established in employ- 
ment or in college. To achieve this they are ready to con- 
tinue to serve youth in many ways far beyond the usual 
time of graduation from high school. 

Gifted Intellects Are 
Stimulated and Challenged 

In their concern for all pupils, the schoolsoftihe_ Eight- 
Year Study have not neglected the student who is endowed 
with jbigli qnalitms nf intftlWi-. The gifted intellect is chal- 
lenged as never before. Because of the freedom which the 
participating schools have had for eight years, they have 
been able to adapt their work more appropriately to in- 
dividuals. They have realized fully that many literary, scien- 
tific, and professional fields require intellectual equipment 
and discipline of a very high order. The schools have come 
to see more clearly than ever that potential leaders must 
become, in greater numbers, actual leaders in the various 
aspects of the intellectual life of the nation if it is to survive 
and flourish. 


The schools in the Study have tried to find better ways of 
developing the habits of mind and qualities of character 
upon which high intellectual achievement in any field de- 
pends. As soon as thegiftedjtudent's jrnajor interests and 
abilities indicate whatHSs fieldjof^work is likely tojbe, the 
school provides opportunity for hjm_to__Liy^jhe 


foundations of knowledge and skill. The schools have en- 
couragedstudenft to engage" in elementary research which 
demands careful discrimination, to follow the leadings of a 
subject, to explore new fields of thought. Moreover, they 
have provided time and facilities for students to do these 
things. Without permitting over-specialization, the student 
is encouraged while still in high school to develop his spe- 
cial interests and abilities far beyond the usual secondary 
school level. 

To meet fully the needs of these able students, altera- 
tions in the curriculum are often necessary. In some cases 
it is expanded to include geology and astronomy in the field 
of science, Greek in language, unusually mature works in 
literature, and courses in higher mathematics usually re- 
served for college. In other cases gifted individuals are pro- 
vided greater opportunity to develop mature appreciation 
and high quality of creative expression in the arts. Able 
students often develop the power of self-direction and in- 
dependent study long before graduation from high school. 
Many of the schools do not hesitate to give such students 
a large measure of freedom. Theyare frequently released 
from soTTifi^nf the nsnflj requirements and permitted, to 
some extent, to make their own curriculum. - 

The Thirty Schools know society's need for intellectual 
leadership in all walks of life. They are striving for bette^ 
ways of discovering, fostering, and developing uniques 
powers of mind. Above all, they try to lead the gifted indi? 


vidual into full realization of his social responsibility so that 
his strength will be used, not for selfish gain, but for the 
common welfare. 

The Arts Belong to 
All the People 

The "artistically gifted" were the only ones who had a 
chance for experience in the arts in the traditional secondary 
school, and that experience was distinctly limited. In the 
Thirty Schools the arts now occupyja much more important 
glaceL-One school emphasizes that its major course in art 
and its major course in music are "comparable to the work 
in any academic field" and are "offered for entrance to col- 
lege on a basis equivalent to that of any academic subject." 19 
This school continues: 

In some ways more important than the advanced work carried 
on by those preparing for professional training or for presenting 
art as a subject for entrance to college is the creative use of art 
by practically all pupils in connection with their other activities. 
The teachers in this department use every opportunity to relate 
their work to what is going on in the other departments, and the 
pupils themselves, with the encouragement of teachers in other 
fields, use their arts and crafts to enrich and give meaning to 
whatever they are doing. 20 

Other schools, also, are convinced of the value of the 
arts for all students and have provided time in the program 
for them. One school reports: 

Teachers of secondary school art in Des Moines do not conduct 
their classes merely for the talented few. They believe that those 
who build, who design furniture, cars, locomotives, dresses, 
cooking utensils, etc., are often greater artists than the creator of 
easel pictures. . . . 

Art students have participated in a great variety of projects: 

19 Beaver County Day School, Vol. V, Thirty Schools Tell Their Story. 

20 Ibid. 


doing murals; experimenting with color; making masks, stage-set 
designs, and costumes; designing panels for class parties; dec- 
orating plates and platters; block printing and screen printing 
Christmas cards. 

Some of the stores of Des Moines co-operate with the art classes. 
Once a year they hire two or more high school artists to draw 
for the ads in the newspaper. Twice a semester art students co- 
operating with salesmanship and merchandising students, draw 
and compose the ads for the school newspaper. 21 

Anediejs^chool likewise emphasizes th^opportunities pro- 
vided in the arts for students not necessarily "gifted" in 
them. In a discussion of courses closely associated with the 
core curriculum, the following is said about the arts: 

In one core course three weeks spent in exploring special in- 
terest fields such as crafts, games, dancing, painting, drawing, 
and clay modeling produced such an enthusiasm for creative 
manual activities that during the next year new semester courses 
were offered to meet the demand. In this high school and in 
others, such exploration of special interests had led to increased 
enrollment in home economics, in industrial arts, in machine 
shop, and in mechanical drawing. . . . 

Closely associated with the developing core curriculum is the 
open laboratory in the arts which is set up to meet the needs of 
pupils who are not necessarily "talented,' 7 or who have not time 
to take a semester course. Pupils who wish to make class con- 
tributions in some form other than writing find the art laboratory 
a welcome resource. In addition to opening a general laboratory 
for the needs of many different kinds of pupils, new classes have 
been formed in commercial art, stage design, drawing, painting, 
and art expression in many media for advanced students. 22 

This increasing emphasis upon the arts in their various 
forms is the result of clearer understanding of their im- 
portance in the lives of young people. Teachers who are 
close to youth say that 

21 Des Moines, ibid. 

22 Denver Schools, ibid. 


1. Experience in the arts gives most boys and girls sheer enjoy- 

2. Through making something with their hands students express 
themselves in media other than words. This gives genuine 
satisfaction especially to the one to whom words do not come 

3. By doing, as well as by reading or listening, young people gain 
great satisfaction and grow in strength and self-reliance. 

4. Creative self-expression often provides release from emotional 
tension and promotes mental and emotional balance and health. 

5. Understanding and increased enjoyment come best through 
experience in self-expression. 

6. By discovering through experience certain problems in any 
one of the arts and trying to solve them, the pupil becomes 
a keener observer of professional works and has greater ap- 
preciation of them. 

These and other values are all emphasized in this state- 
ment by an arts teacher 23 of unusual insight: 

I see over and over again the need for self-expression. The 
change from indifference to vivid interest when the student 
changes from the passive to the active in a learning situation is 
inescapable. Moreover, in teacher-pupil planning groups the 
students themselves recognize this need "This term's art survey 
was better than the last one because the students talked and took 
part, instead of just listening." In dramatizing and acting one 
can see eager satisfaction as this need is met. 

Also, self-expression in creative ways satisfies the needs of the 
imagination. This need is not found in the so-called "creative 
type" of student only. 

Self-expression then, as I have seen it, satisfies the need to be 
active instead of passive, and also to say or paint or dramatize 
one's imaginings. 

Youth Search for 
Life's Meaning 

Along with the urge for expression by doing, youth are 
segldng some sure^fi^^ajion^ ^Every 

23 Mabel D. Ely, Shalcer High School, Shaker Heights, Ohio. ^ 


study of adolescent concerns reveals youth's need to find 
meaning in life^ Some express this desire morefoeel}^ -than 
others, but it seems to be a deep-seated concern of all young 
people. They feel the mystery of the universe. Their thoughts 
dwell often upon birth, life and death, eternity and im- 
mortality. They say they want something to believe in, 
"something to live by/* 

Most of the participating schools^ in corporation with 
home and church, arej^ng^tojc^i_tiiis_jieed. There are 
marked differences Tn their attempts to help young people 
to find meaning for their lives. Some teachers are able to 
help students with this problem through the subjects they 
teach. The English teacher draws upon literature for what 
others have thought and written about the meaning of 
existence. The science teacher helps his students to consider 
the facts and laws of science in relation to human life. The 
history teacher leads his students to inquire into the mean- 
ing of man's long struggle to survive and control his en- 
vironment. Through these and other approaches students 
are sometimes able to develop a satisfying personal philoso- 
phy or point of view. 

In some of the core cuniculums there are units of study 
designed to help students reach their own tentative con- 
clusions relative to the meaning of existence. A few schools, 
in response to student requests, provide forjsoin-. study of 
religions by attendance attendees in varirw* churcbes-and 
bY-discussions pf beliefs^with religions leaders. Three of 
the Thirty Schools were founded and are now conducted 
by religious societies. 24 In these schools and in a few other 
private schools, religious instruction is an essential part of 

24 Friends' Central, George School, Germantown Friends. For discussion 
by these and other private schools, see Vol. V, Thirty Schools Tell Their 


the curriculum. None of the schools attempts to impose a 
set of beliefs upon its students, but every school recognizes 
its responsibility for helping young people in their search 
for design in living. 

Two Forces Unite to Determine 
ibt Curriculum 

Perhaps the reader now has at least partial answer to his 
question concerning changes in the organization and content 
of the curriculum. But he may be asking, "How were these 
schools guided in determining the content_of_the curricu- 
lum '^"CEieflv there wereTwo criteria: th^jfornanris of adult 
society and the concerns of adolescentsOThe influence of 
these criteria varies from school to school and from teacher 
to teacher. 

Some give great weight to analyses of what adults do. 
They argue that schools should know clearly the sorts of 
activities in which adults engage and the kinds of problems 
they have to meet. Then the work of the school, they say, 
should prepare youth to engage in those activities and to 
meet those problems. An excellent statement of social de- 
mands is found in "The Mississippi Program for the Im- 
provement of Instruction/' 25 Nine areas of human activity 
and problems of living are listed as the basis of curriculum 
construction: (1) Protecting Life and Health (2) Getting 
a Living (3) Making a Home (4) Expressing Religious Im- 
pulses (5) Satisfying the Desire for Beauty (6) Securing 
Education (7) Co-operating in Social and Civic Action 
(8) Engaging in Recreation (9) Improving Material Con- 

This is one of several such lists of adult activity which 
have been widely used by schools in many states as the 

25 Bulletin No. 5, State Department of Education, Jackson, Mississippi. 


guide to curriculum revision. An examination of the pro- 
grams of the Thirty Schools reveals that they, also, have 
been influenced by the social demands of adult life. 

The other criterion, adolescent concerns, has likewise in- 
fluenced the participating schools. It was fortunate that re- 
sults of the studies of the Commission on the Secondary 
School Curriculum 26 became available while the Thirty 
Schools were seeking solid-rock foundations for curriculum 
rebuilding. These studies asserted the importance of needs 
of youth as the source of the curriculum in this statement: 
"The purpose of general education is to meet the needs of 
individuals in the basic aspects of living in such a way as 
to promote the fullest realization of personal potentialities 
and the most effective participation in a democratic so- 
ciety/' 27 

The emphasis here is upon the problems which young 
people face while they are still young people, upon the con- 
cerns of high school students while they are still in high 
school. At this age the student is concerned with such ques- 
tions as these: What should I do to make a living when I 
leave school? How may I decide what I am best fitted to do? 
How should I prepare for a job, get it, and hold it? How 
may I become a self-sustaining, useful citizen? I want to 
become a person of recognized usefulness in the world 
of adults. How may I do this? How can I develop better 
relations with my parents and brothers and sisters? How 
can I help with the family financial problems? I need friends. 
What must I be and do to get on well with others? I don't 

26 Science in General Education, Progressive Education Association, D. 
Appleton-Century Co., 1938. Language in General Education; Mathematics 
in General Education; The Social Studies in General Education, Progressive 
Education Association, D. Appleton-Century Co., 1940. 

27 Science in General Education, p. 23. 


understand myself. Why do I feel, think, and act as I do? 
Am I normal physically, emotionally? 

I am a citizen of the United States. What are my rights 
and duties as a citizen? What is democracy? What does 
it mean? How is it better than other ways of life? I must 
be sure of something. What can I believe in? Is there any 
meaning in life? How can satisfaction in living be achieved? 

It is obvious that these present concerns of youth reach 
out into the future. He realizes that he is becoming what 
he is to be. He has his problems which must be solved 
today, but he has other long-time concerns which carry 
over into the years ahead. He is thinking of himself as a 
man in the world of men and he wants to play a man's part 
when the time comes. But he is still a youth with youth's 
own immediate task of solving the exciting puzzle of grow- 
ing up in a very perplexing world. None of the Thirty 
Schools would deny that preparation for the responsibilities 
of adulthood is important and that there certainly should 
be a long look ahead; but the business of living satisfactorily 
now at age seventeen is equally important, they say. Per- 
haps the best possible ^eparationjooneetrng^b^^emands 
of jydjQlflSjTis foUve successfully now at seventeen. 
^ Guided b^somejudbJ'hiTikirtg, as thiyjjipjhirty Schools 
were convincedjhat both present needs j^f^YQiith-^td adult 

Any attempt to cfenve the curriculum from only one of these 
sources, they said, would result in neglect of important 
values. Traditionally secondary schools in the United States 
have based their work upon custom or upon certain demands 
of adult life which have been accepted without much ques- 
tion. The Thirty Schools have re-examined society in an 
attempt to learn what adult life really requires of youth. 
At the same time they have tried to discover youth's common 


concerns and to help them in their immediate perplexities. 
These studies have led to the core curriculum and to most 

tthe innovations in the participating schools, whatever 
e plan of organization may be. 


It should be clear to the reader that no sharply defined 
body of new subject matter has emerged in the Thirty 
Schools, but its general substance and scope should be evi- 
dent. Although the emphasis thus far in this chapter has been 
upon changes in what is learned, there have been incidental 
indications of changes in ways of learning. Innovations have 
involved not only the content of the curriculum, but methods 
of teaching as well. The two cannot be reported in complete 
separation, but attention is directed now to changes in the 
procedures by which the new work is carried on. 

Democratic Processes Enter 
the Classroom 

It is still possible to find here and there in the Thirty 
Schools the traditional practice of textbook lesson assign- 
ment and hearing of recitation. In such cases the pupil's 
problem is how to learn the lesson and recite it to the teach- 
er's satisfaction. The "problem" may have no other meaning 
for him. It has been set by the teacher. The student has 
had no part in choosing it, and it may not touch his real 
purposes or concerns in any way. However, in most of the 
classesj:o be found in the Thirty Schools there is a funda- 
mentally differentj:elfltinrt<;hip^^S;^n anrl pnpiL 

To one accustomed to the traditional classroom scene, 
many procedures in the participating schools may seem 
strange and without order or organization. Upon entering a 
room, one may find the teacher lecturing to the class, but 


this does not happen often. One is more likely to see stu- 
dents working singly or in groups, moving about as the 
work irThand requires. The teacher may be at his 3esk hold- 
ing 'one'" brief "conference after another with individuals or 
with small groups. The chances are that he is going from 
person to person or from group to group as their work calls 
for his assistance or guidance. It is possible that the teacher 
is not in the room at all. He and some members of the group 
may be making an investigation in the library, laboratory, 
shop, or even downtown, but the work goes on in his 

It goes on because the students are working, not for the 

d give, but for purposes which 

they think important. The purposes are theirs as weirirthe 
teacher's. They have shared with him in selecting the goals 
and in planning the steps to be taken. They have taken 
time to consider together what to do and how to do it. This 
wise teacher has learned how to share honestly with his 
boys and girls in planning their work together. He has made 
the difficult change from authoritarianism to democracy, 
not only because more and better work is done by students, 
but chiefly because he knows that they should learn how 
to share responsibility and to co-operate in achieving ob- 
jectives which they and he have set up. This is the way of 

The teacher and class have been through some unhappy 
days and trying times together. In the bcginniBg-Jhey 
"mulled around.^ Neither teacher nor pupils knew very well 
how to move ahead together. This was a new experience 
forjdl. fof one thing they are now sure they talked too 
muchTThere was endless discussion of topics without the 
"knowledge necessary to make discussion profitable. Stu- 
dents wanted to discuss these topics which were of such 


vital concern. They had ideas and questions which they 
were eager to express. However, they began to realize after 
much talk that their ideas were < half -baked" and that some 
of their questions were unimportant, some could easily be 
answered by a little reading, and some could be answered 
by no one. 

Gradually everyone, even the most talkative, came to 
realize that discussion may be boring and certainly futile 
unless facts are obtained, assumptions examined, opinion 
thoughtfully "arrived at/' or conclusion clearly established. 
If the stranger should sit in on a group discussion now, he 
would find insistence on the part of the members of the 
class that the speaker should have something to contribute, 
that he should stick to the point, cite the sources of his data, 
and draw only such conclusions as the facts may warrant. 

New Materials for Learning 
are Essential 

When the class had had enough of talk and settled down 
to real study and investigation, they discovered that the 
information they needed was often hard to get. Seldom 
could they find a textbook which served their purposes. 
Perhaps out of a dozen textbooks they could gather valuable 
data, but they soon learned that libraries must be searched 
for all sorts of books, reports, bulletins, pamphlets. The 
materials collected in advance by the teacher were useful, 
but often essential knowledge was not to be found in print 
at all. This forced investigation away from the school 
building. Sometimes men and women came to the school to 
tell the class what it wanted to know, but more often the 
teacher and students went out into 

To find pertinent and accurate information on many of 


the topics or "units" chosen for investigation was a pressing 
problem for the teacher. His resourcefulness was severely 
taxed. In this dilemma he was helped by attendance at 
Workshops 28 in the summer. Here, with other teachers hav- 
ing the same problem, he prepared for each unit a file of 
materials to be used by him and his pupils when the need 
arose. Thus he was partially prepared for the new work. 

He turned eagerly to motion pictures and radio for further 
materials of instruction, and in them he found content of 
great usefulness. By looking ahead and planning carefully, 
the group could capitalize upon an important radio broad- 
cast. Much more practicable, however, is, the use of radio 
recordings which are becoming systematically available. 
The recording can be used whenever it contributes to the 
study of the topic at hand. Likewise, motion pictures can be 
used when the theme of the picture is pertinent to the study 
under way. The great possibilities of these two new means 
of learning are only beginning to be realized, but already 
the teacher and his students have found them invaluable. 

As the new work has developed during the last two or 
three years, the teacher's file of materials for each unit has 
grown larger and richer. In fact, there is now so much in 
the file that no class can use all of it, This is as it should be, 
for it affords a range of study and investigation for each 
succeeding group of boys and girls whose needs may differ 
in some respects from the present group. 

The school library, also, is adding constantly to its store 
of useful reading matter. But it is now not only a library of 
books, bulletins, reports, and the like; it is a library of 
reproductions of great pictures, drawings, sculpture, models, 

28 For discussion of Workshops, see Vol. II, Exploring the Curriculum, 
Chap. VIII. Also Heaton, Camp, Diederich, Professional Education for Ex- 
perienced Teachers: The Program of Summer Workshops, Progressive Edu- 
cation Association, University of Chicago Press, 1940. 


specimens, motion picture films, and radio recordings. The 
school librarian is no longer the forbidding guardian oi the 
sacred books; she has become just about the most useful 
person on the school staff. She shares with teachers as new 
units are planned and brings to the classroom, as well as 
to the library, a wealth of materials garnered from the four 
quarters of the earth. 

If the reader is a teacher, he or she may be saying that 
these things cost money and that they are possible only in 
schools that have abundant financial resources. Teachers 
in the Thirty Schools would reply that the resources needed 
are not so much financial as creative. The teacher who sees 
the need of such material things usually has resources of 
mind and spirit sufficient to find ways of securing essential 
things. Much of the most valuable printed materials of in- 
struction may be had free of charge from agencies of local, 
state, and federal government, Citizens are glad to give their 
services. Parent and student organizations raise funds in 
various ways. Their help can be enlisted. In some of the 
Thirty Schools each pupil contributes annually a dollar or 
two to a fund which makes possible rich resources for 
students* investigation and learning. Even those schools with 
the most limited financial resources found ways of over- 
coming difficulties caused by the dearth of materials of in- 

Problem Solving Develops the Habit 
of Reflective Thinking 

^A fiijrmcr iTiflnRnce in shaping methods of teaching in the 
Thirty Schools has been the conviction that young people 
should develop the habit of reflective think- 

! .^'^L. i^,_^,,i..a-TT-na, T 

ing and skill in solving problems. Jnsteaa ot a lessonta be 
learned, the work_is more often a problem to be solvej. As 


the curriculum came to consist more and more of youth's 
problems of living, emphasis upon techniques of problem 
solving inevitably grew stronger. Since the solution of diffi- 
cult problems involves reflective thinking, much of the work 
in all subjects and courses, especially in mathematics and 
science, was designed to give pupils experience in clear, 
logical thinking in probleirrsebrog^ One of the participating 
schools gives unusual emphasis in its report to the develop- 
ment of critical thinking: 

Critical or reflective lEffilang originates with the sensing of a 
prnKlpm. Ttjs a quality of thought operating in an effort to solve 
the problem and to reach a tentative conclusion which is sup- 
ported by all available data. It is really a process of problem 
solving requiring the use of creative insight, intellectual honesty, 
and sound judgment. It is the basis of the method of scientific 
inquiry. The success of democracy depends to a large extent on 
the disposition and ability of citizens to think critically and re- 
flectively about the problems which must of necessity confront 
them, and to improve the quality of their thinking is one of the 
major goals of education. 

The faculty recognizes that the acceptance of this responsi- 
bility has very important implications for both content and 
method. The problems studied should have their origin in the 
daily living experience of the students, and they should be studied 
in a manner conducive to the free play of intelligence. A student 
is not likely to enter actively into discussion on any point unless 
he knows that his honest opinions will receive respectful con- 
sideration. Nor is the cultivation of reflective thinking the special 
responsibility of any one subject matter area. It is rather the 
concern of all areas in the school. . . , 29 

Then follow illustrations showing how experience in critical 
thinking is constantly involved in all areas of this school's 
work. Here are two instances: 

29 University School, Ohio State University, Vol. V, Thirty Schools Tell 
Their Story. 


In the arts area, for example, an individual student or a group 
of students selects a problem on the basis of carefully considered 
values which have been defined through the combined thinking 
of both student and teachers. Before undertaking a project in 
any one of the arts laboratories such questions as the following 
are considered: 

Will it provide a new and worthwhile experience? Will it serve 
the purpose for which it was intended? Will the completion of 
this project require more time than can be justified? Will the 
needed materials and equipment, such as tools and machinery, 
be available? What will be the cost of the materials and how 
will it be met? 

Once a student has an idea which he would like to express 
through the medium of the arts, such practical questions as these 
require him to exercise judgment in defining the actual nature 
of his problem. 

An illustration will show how reflective thinking develops in 
social studies. The members of one class became conscious that 
their prejudices, attitudes, and beliefs were operating to obstruct 
their thinking about certain socio-economic problems. Some one 
raised the question as to how these ideas originated and this led 
to a study of public opinion. The problem was defined as "Under- 
standing How Public Opinion is Formed, and particularly How 
our own Opinions Came About." Once the problem had been 
defined, students took active part in planning for its solution. 
Suggestions were carefully considered, ideas awkwardly ex- 
pressed were refined and clarified, and the whole process was 
utilized as an opportunity for teaching effective methods of 
problem solving. 30 

Pioneering Is Hard 
but Gratifying 

To teach new content in new ways, teachers found them- 
selves inadequately prepared. To become a competent 
teacher of a core curriculum group was especially difficult 

90 Ibid. 


The "core" teacher may have been a teacher of any "subject." 
He still retains his special field of interest and scholarship, 
but he is the leader of a group of young people because 
he has become a person of sympathy, insight, and wisdom, 
devoted to the service of youth in the whole range of their 
interests and concerns. 

He has not been this kind of teacher always. He has been 
a good teacher of his subject, and he has always been in- 
terested in boys and girls; but he thought, until a few years 
ago, that his responsibility was fulfilled when he did his 
best as a teacher in his own field of specialization. Then 
about 1933 he found his school and himself involved in 
this Eight- Year Study. With his principal and colleagues he 
engaged in serious reconsideration of the school's service 
to its boys and girls. That re-examination revealed important 
needs of young people which were not being met by the 
school or by any other agency in the community. It was 
decided that the school should attempt to provide for cer- 
cted concerns of youth. Because this 
^ shidfiinF^ progres- 

sive and creative in his outlooE upon^education and life, 
he was chosen to be the leader of one of the student groups. 

He did not consider himself ready for his new and wider 
responsibilities, as, indeed, he was not. But no other teacher 
was any better prepared for the new work. He and other 
teachers like him set out with great courage to go along 
with boys and girls on the high road of youth's adventure 
in living. They would do the best they could, and they 
would learn month after month and year after year how 
better to lead their boys and girls into fuller and more satis- 
fying living. They knew the task would be difficult trail- 
blazing always is but they were confident that they could 
become competent in their new work. 


Hundreds of them did become competent in their larger 
and more significant responsibilities. In all the schools many 
teachers have had a new birth of freedom. Their lives, 
professionally and personally, have been immeasurably en- 
riched. Teaching has become a thrilling, absorbing experi- 
ence. This new life has not been won without cost. They 
have spent long hours in hard study and in almost endless 
conference with other teachers, with students and parents. 
But they all testify that their present joy in their work, their 
deep sense of satisfaction in knowing they are serving youth 
more vitally are worth all the cost and more. 31 

No small part of the increasing strength of the schools and 
the growth of teachers is due to the work of the CTOJCulTOV. 
Associates. In response to requests from the schools for help, 
men who were themselves distinguished teachers were 
selected to serve as consultants in their fields of special 
competence. They came to the schools, not as authorities 
with ready-made solutions, but as experienced students of 
curriculum problems, willing and ready to work with the 
local teacher in the solution of his problems. They were 
without official authority; their influence depended wholly 
upon the worth and applicability of their ideas. Under these 
conditions the schools welcomed their coming and profited 
steadily year after year from their assistance. 

What to teach and how to teach these are the constant 
concerns of education. The Thirty Schools have tried to teach 
more important things in better ways. This chapter indicates 
briefly, of necessity, what they did and how they did it. 
Volume II of this Report, Exploring the Curriculum, tells the 
story in much greater detail, and Volume V, Thirty Schools 
Tell Their Story, records each school's report of its work and 

81 Vol. II, Exploring the Curriculum, Chaps. VII and VIII. 


manner of working. The schools participating in the Eight- 
Year Study have not come to the end of the high road of ad- 
venture. Although the Commission's work ends with the 
publication of this Report, the work of the schools goes on. 
They know that much pioneering is yet to be done. They 
know, also, that some of the trails they have blazed are 
good paths to follow. 

Chapter IV 

< ceo ccc- K* ccc- c<c- c<c- c- c ccc ccc ccc- ccc- ccc- ccc- ccc ccc ccc- ccc- ccc- ceo ccc- ccc- ccc- 

From the beginning of the Study the Commission and the 
participating schools have recognized their responsibility for 
appraising the results of their work. They were not willing 
that the value of ten years of concerted effort should be 
judged by vague impressions or individual opinion based 
upon partial evidence. The Eight- Year Study had been 
launched in sincere hope that student growth toward de- 
sired objectives would be accelerated while students were 
still in secondary school and that those who went on to 
college would do well there. It was realized that abundant 
data concerning student development should be secured, 
recorded and reported so that the students themselves, their 
teachers and parents, colleges, and prospective employers 
might be fully informed. This chapter tells what was done 
to measure, record, and report student progress in secondary 
school; the next chapter reports the study of the success of 
students in college and the significant results obtained. The 
Commission regrets that its resources did not permit a simi- 
lar study of the graduates of the Thirty Schools who did 
not go to college. It is expected, however, that such investi- 
gations will be made by many of the member schools. 

How Did T|iey Evaluate 
Their WorJfc? 

Schools have always measured results in some fashion. 
Examinations have always been a part of school life. Even 



in an earlier day when the function of the school was lim- 
ited to the teaching of the Three R's, it was difficult to 
measure with accuracy the proficiency of pupils in reading, 
writing, and arithmetic. But in this day, when the schools 
are attempting to meet many diverse needs of youth, the 
task of appraisal has become extraordinarily difficult. 

During the last two or three decades measurement in edu- 
cation has received increasing emphasis; numberless tests 
have been devised, published, and used in schools, yet for 
many important aims of education no instruments of evalua- 
tion existed when this Study began. Most of the tests used 
by schools were designed to measure chiefly accretions of 
information and proficiency in certain skills. However, no 
school limits its objectives to these two. Every school has 
other purposes that it believes to be equally, if not more, 

The Thirty Schools took the position that evaluation is im- 
portant only in relation to purpose. Unless objectives are 

jrfjSSiJts^Aij unc piixcipal said, "The results^sought by a 
school must be constantly before the faculty as a pillar of 
cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night." With goals, even 
moving ones, clearly seen, measurement of progress be- 
comes possible. 

Perhaps the most fruitful experience of the Thirty Schools 
in the early stages of the Study was that of thinking through 
and stating plainly the results they hoped to achieve. They 
wanted, for example, to helpTytrtHigpeople to understand 
thems^lves,^tirieaniTiow fd'^wtrrk^satisfactorily with others; 
to read, intelligeil%_and express the 
and itr-writing, to loam how teuauzBStig^^ 
low its-kadings^a"bFoaden^SLnd .deepen- their interests. 

Then the Thirty Schools asked, How can we know 


whether such results are being attained? Not many of the 
tests in general use in 1933, when the participating schools 
began their new work, were helpful. Standardized tests 
were usually based upon the traditional content of conven- 
tional subjects. As the schools developed new content and 
types of curriculum organization designed to achieve their 
purposes, it was soon discovered that new instruments and 
more comprehensive programs of appraisal were needed. 
To meet this need the evaluation service of the Study was 

From the beginning the Evaluation Staff worked in- 
timately with the Thirty Schools. Its task was to help de- 
velop effective ways to find out what changes were pro- 
duced in students by their school experiences. Let it be 
emphasized that this was done co-operatively* Teachers in 
the schools participated in formulating every plan and in 
devising every test. Always evaluation was related to pur- 
poses which teachers considered important, and always 
the product of technical test-construction was subjected to 
the searching criticism of unusually competent teachers. 

The director and members of the Evaluation Staff began 
their work by analyzing the purposes that the schools had 
listed when they entered the Study. It was found that the 
schools were concerned with these ten major types of ob- 

/"l. The development of effective methods of thinking* 

2. The cultivation of useful work habits and study * 

3. The inculcation of social attitudes x 

4. The acquisition of a wide range of significant in- 

x. 1 Vol. Ill, Appraising and Recording Student Progress, gives a complete 
account of Evaluation in the Eight- Year Study. 


5. The development of increased appreciation of music^ 
art, literature, and other aesthetic experiences 

6. The development of social sensitivity . 

7. The development of better personal-social adjust- 

8. The acquisition of important information 

9. The development of physical health 

10. The development of a consistent philosophy of life 

The schools were saying to the Evaluation Staff, "We do 
not know surely whether our work is producing the results 
we desire. We need to know. Can you help us find out 
whether or not our efforts produce in students effective meth- 
ods of thinking; a wide range of significant interests; in- 
creased appreciation of music, art, and literature; social 
sensitivity; and a consistent philosophy of life? If our teach- 
ing is not bringing about these results, we shall change our 
curriculum and teaching methods in the hope that we can 
accomplish our purposes. Then we shall examine results 

The answer was, "We will try, but you must work with 
us. The task is difficult. Many technicians have said that it 
is impossible to devise reliable measures of progress toward 
such intangible objectives. We think it can be done. It will 
take time. The first instruments we construct may not be 
satisfactory. If you will try them out in your classes, we will 
discover wherein the tests are faulty and try again. We 
hope that eventually we shall be able to provide instru- 
ments of evaluation that will be useful to you in appraising 
the results of your work." 

In the course of the seven years the Evaluation Staff 
devised about two hundred tests that were used experi- 
mentally, refined, and tried out again and again. Some of 


them were finally discarded as inadequate., but others have 
proved to be useful to the schools and satisfactory to the 
Staff. They have been used with thousands of students, 
and their helpfulness and reliability have been established. 
Sixteen of these evaluation instruments have been used 
most widely in secondary schools. They are listed here with a 
brief description of the nature and purpose of each: 

Test 2.52. Interpretation of Data 

This includes a series of exercises which require the student 
to formulate reasonable generalizations from data largely 
drawn from fields of the sciences and the social studies, s 

Test 1.3b. The Application of Principles of General Science 

This includes a series of exercises in which the student is 
required to explain various scientific phenomena in terms of 
relevant facts and principles. 

Test 1.42. Social Problems 

This includes a series of social problems in which the student 
is asked to select a course of action and to support it in terms 
of social science generalizations and in terms of his own social 

Test 1.5. Application of Principles 

This involves a series of social problems, the explanation of 
which rests more closely upon facts and generalizations and 
less upon social beliefs than in the case of Test 1.42. 

Test 5.12. The Application of Certain Principles of Logic 

The exercises in this test require the student to determine 
what conclusions follow logically from the premises. 

Test 5.22. The Nature of Proof 

These exercises require the student to identify basic defini- 
tions and assumptions and to judge their plausibility. 

Test 7.1. Familiarity with Dependable Sources of Information 
These exercises require the student to indicate sources of 
information on questions for study in various subject fields. 

Test 7.2. Use of Books and Libraries 

These exercises require familiarity with the organization of 
books and school libraries. 


Test 7.3. Use of Books and Libraries for Junior High Schools 
This is similar to Tests 7.1 and 7.2, but is less difficult. 

Test 4.21 and 4.31 Scale of Beliefs 

The exercises in the two parts of this test give evidence of 
the liberalism or conservatism of the student's belief on 
various social science issues, and also give some measure of 
consistency of these beliefs. 

Test 3.31. Questionnaire on Voluntary Reading 

This questionnaire gives an indication of the types and in- 
tensity of the student's reactions to literature. 

Test 3.9. Seven Modern Paintings 

This test and questionnaire gives some evidence of the stu- 
dent's reaction to a sample of modern paintings. 

Test 3.10 and 3.11. Finding Pairs of Pictures 

This is a non-verbal test requiring the student to select pairs 
of pictures which seem to him similar in important respects. 
It provides evidence of the range and maturity of his sen- 
sitivity to aesthetic aspects of pictures. 

Test 8.2a. Interest Index 

This questionnaire gives evidence of the range and maturity 
of the student's interests in activities related to various school 

Test 3.1. Record of Free Reading 

The free reading of students is appraised in terms of range 
and maturity by means of a list of fiction authors classified 
by types and by levels of maturity. 

Test 8.2b and c. Interests and Activities 

These questionnaires throw some light on the personal- 
social adjustment of adolescents in terms of their likes and 
dislikes for various types of personal and social experience. 

Appraisal of results i^the Thirty Schools was not limited 
to written exammations^As the Director of Evaluation states, 

. . . Any device which provides valid evidence regarding the 
progress of students toward educational objectives is appropriate. 
As a matter of practice, most programs of appraisal have been 
limited to written examinations or paper-and-pencil tests of some 
type. Perhaps this has been due to the greater ease with which 


written examinations can be given and the results summarized. 
However, a consideration of the kinds of objectives formulated 
for general education makes clear that written examinations are 
not likely to provide an adequate appraisal for all of these objec- 
tives. A written test may be a valid measure of information re- 
called and ideas remembered. In many cases, too, the student's 
skill in writing and in mathematics may be shown by written 
tests, and it is also true that various techniques of thinking may 
be evidenced through more novel types of written test materials. 
On the other hand, evidence regarding the improvement of 
health practices, regarding better personal-social adjustment of 
students, regarding interests and attitudes, may require a much 
wider repertoire of appraisal techniques. This assumption em- 
phasizes the wider range of techniques which may be used in 
evaluation such as observational records^necdotal records^'ques- 
tionnaires, interviews, check lists, 1 ' records of activities, products 
made, and the like. The selection of evaluation techniques should 
be made in terms of the appropriateness of that technique for the 
kind of behavior to be appraised. 2 ^ 

It wasntleTtEer desirable nor possible for the Evaluation 
Staff to devise tests for all kinds of new courses and units 
developed by the schools. They constructed instruments of 
appraisal in areas of most common concern. Moreover, the 
Staff rendered another service equally important: they 
taught hundreds of teachers how tcx^eviseAeirovmtest 
The effect of a unique unit of work, designed to bring about 
certain changes in students, should be measured by a test 
specifically made for that situation. Therefore, teachers were 
assisted in Workshops, at evaluation headquarters, and in 
their own schools in the techniques of test construction, in 
the use of instruments of evaluation, and in the interpreta- 
tion of results. 

The ways in which the schools used the contributions of 

2 Ralph W. Tyler, Vol. Ill, Appraising and Recording Student Progress, 
Chap. I. 


the Evaluation Staff and the results of such use are recorded 
in Volumes III and V of this Report. It should be reported 
here that, to a greater or less extent, the schools in the 
Study have now developed comprehensive programs of 
evaluation. Perhaps no school has yet found ways of securing 
all the knowledge it should have concerning the effects of its 
efforts. However, every participating school now attempts 
to appraise its own work more intelligently and comprehen- 
sively than it did when the Study began. Freedom from 
college requirements has definitely increased each school's 
sense of responsibility for knowing the consequences of its 

In the Thirty Schools evaluation and teaching belong to- 
gether. They react upon each other continuously. Step by 
step in the process of learning, the teacher and student 
measure the distance traveled, learn just where the student 
is and how far he has to go to reach the desired goal. If, 
as in many of the Thirty Schools, the student has shared 
with the teacher in determining objectives and planning 
how to attain them, he is just as eager as the teacher to 
learn what progress he has made. Teacher and students 
together plan the work, carry it through, and test results. 
In bringing teaching and evaluation into closer co-operation 
the Evaluation Staff has rendered the Thirty Schools dis- 
tinctly valuable service. In developing instruments of evalua- 
tion in areas previously neglected, they have made an im- 
portant contribution to progress, not only in the participating 
schools, but in schools everywhere. 

What Did They Put 
on the Record? 

What goes on the high school record is of concern to the 
student, his parents, the college admission committee, the 


prospective employer, and others. Those who have been in- 
volved in the Eight- Year Study have emphasized continu- 
ously the importance of what is recorded and reported about 
high school boys and girls. Students know that what the 
school writes down reveals its real objectives much more 
clearly than the usual catalog "statement of purposes." 
Therefore, they work for the things the school records; they 
want "a good record/ 7 

The obligation to secure, record, and report pertinent data 
concerning candidates was inherent in the agreement with 
the colleges. The schools had promised to provide the col- 
leges with evidence of the candidate's readiness for college 
work. They wanted to give colleges more significant informa- 
tion than the student's record of units and grades. It was 
their hope that each applicant would be so completely de- 
scribed that the college would have a much better basis for 
selection and guidance than ever before. If this could be 
done, the transition from school to college would be facili- 
tated and the student's educational experience in school and 
college could have both unity and continuity. 

Recognizing the importance of recording and reporting, 
the Directing Committee formed the Committee on Records 
and Reports when the participating schools began their 
new work in 1933. All of the work of this committee, and 
of the special recording committees formed later, has been 
done under the direction of Dr. Eugene R. Smith, Head- 
master, Beaver Country Day School. The Committee on 
Records and Reports was asked to aid the schools in de- 
termining s ^_^^ 

1. what information the college needs for wise seleJ\- 
tion and guidance of students; 

2. how that information can best be secured; 


3. in what form it should be recorded and presented 
to the colleges. 

The Committee had not gone far with its work before it 
was realized that the task it had assumed was difficult and 
extensive. Although its original purpose was to assist the 
Thirty Schools in furnishing colleges needed information, 
the Committee was soon asked to help the schools in the 
whole field of evaluation for all pupils, whether they were 
going to college or not. Therefore, it became necessary to 
secure additional service and to divide the work. To assist 
the schools in collecting evidence of each student's progress, 
the Evaluation Staff was organized with Dr. Ralph W. Tyler 
as Director. Its work is reported in the first section of this 
chapter and in Chapter V. The responsibility for assistance to 
the schools in recording and reporting evidence remained 
with this Committee. The major aspects of its eight years of 
work are presented here. 3 

For its own guidance the Committee set up general pur- 
poses and working objectives of recording. They are given 
here for the aid they may be to others in the same field. 


1. Adequate records provide a sound basis for under- 
standing and counseling individuals. 

2. Records furnish the material for intelligent home and 
school co-operation. 

3. Records reveal whether the individual is ready for 
new experiences. They are essential at points of transition, 
such as from school to college or from school to employ- 

4. Records that grow out of the major purposes of educa- 

3 The full account is to be found in Vol. Ill, Appraising and Recording Stu- 
dent Progress, Section II. 


tion serve to stimulate teachers and to keep important goals 
steadily in view. 


1. Any form devised should be based on the objectives 
of teachers and schools so that a continuing study of a 
pupil by its use would throw light on his successive stages 
of development in powers or characteristics believed to be 

2. The forms dealing with personal characteristics should 
be descriptive. Therefore "marks" of any kind, or place- 
ment, as on a straight line representing a scale from highest 
to lowest, should not be used. 

3. Every effort should be made to reach agreement about 
the meaning of trait names used, and to make their signifi- 
cance in terms of the behavior of a pupil understood by 
those reading the record. 

4. Wherever possible a characterization of a person should 
be by description of typical behavior rather than by a word 
or phrase that could have widely different meanings to 
different people. 

5. The forms should be flexible enough to allow choice 
of headings under which studies of pupils would be made, 
thus allowing a school, department, or teacher to use the 
objectives considered important in the particular situation, 
or for the particular ^Dil, 

6. Characteristics studied should be such that teachers 
would be likely to have opportunities to observe behavior 
that gives evidence about them. It is not expected, however, 
that all teachers will have evidence about all characteristics. 

7. Forms should be so devised and related that any school 
would be likely to be able to use them without an over- 
whelming addition to the work of teachers or secretaries. 


8. Characteristics studied should be regarded not as inde- 
pendent entities, but ratbear-as-facets--of-%ehavior shown by 
a living human being in his relations with his environment. 

With these guiding purposes and working objectives the 
Committee has produced record-forms in many areas for 
varying uses. Forms customarily used by schools provide 
for only a few aspects of development. This Committee at- 
tempted to make provision, on the forms devised, for more 
comprehensive reports of youth's developing powers. How- 
ever, any record-form runs the risk of imposing limitations. 
For example, it may not provide for all the data which 
should be written into the story of a student's activities. 
The Committee has sought to avoid this danger by making 
provision for recording a wide range of information and 
by leaving spaces on the forms for additional data not called 
for by the topics and headings listed. 

The necessity for a considerable measure of uniformity 
for reporting is obvious. Any report that is really significant 
requires careful reading and interpretation by the one who 
receives it. Parents, college admission committees, and em- 
ployers welcome reports that are not difficult to interpret 
and that are reasonably uniform. The Committee on Records 
and Reports finds that its record-forms are being used widely 
and with increasing satisfaction. It is hoped that they will 
serve to bring some measure of order out of the chaos 
caused by the multiplier::/ cf record-forms now in use. 

The forms that have been developed are known as "Be- 
havior Description/' "Reports to Parents," "Transfer from 
School to College," and "Development of Pupils in Subject 
Fields." The first, Behavior Description, should receive some 
comment here. This form provides for description of the 
student under these headings: Responsibility-Dependability, 
Creativeness and Imagination, Influence, Inquiring Mind, 


Openmindedness, Power and Habit of Analysis, Social Con- 
cern, Emotional Responsiveness, Serious Purpose, Social Ad- 
justability, Work Habits. Because words have varying 
meanings, the form indicates the meaning of each heading 
and provides for a report upon the degree or extent to 
which the term is descriptive of the student. Here is an 


(The student is) 

DISCRIMINATING: Welcomes new ideas but habitually sus- 
pends judgment until all the available evidence is ob- 

TOLERANT: Does not readily appreciate or respond to op- 
posing viewpoints and new ideas, although he is tolerant 
of them and consciously tries to suspend judgment re- 
garding them. 

PASSIVE: Tolerance of the new or different is passive, aris- 
ing from lack of interest or conviction. Welcomes, or is 
indifferent to change, because of lack of understanding 
or appreciation of the new or of that which it replaces. 

RIGID: Preconceived ideas and prejudices so govern his 
thinking that he usually ends a discussion or an in- 
vestigation without change of opinion. 

INTOLERANT: Is actively intolerant; resents any interfer- 
ence with his habitual belief s/ideas and procedures. 

The Behavior Description record-form is the product of 
the long-time labor of many able school and college repre- 
sentatives who served on the Committee with unselfish devo- 
tion. They attempted to provide a way of presenting a word- 
sketch, a profile of the student. They did not consider the 
words they used for captions as designations of disparate 


traits. With great care the committee members chose words 
that indicate characteristics, qualities of mind or character 
that schools generally try to develop in their students. With 
equal thoughtfulness, hundreds of teachers and administra- 
tors from schools and colleges have contributed to the work 
of the many special sub-committees which have devised 
these various means of reporting the growth of young human 

The Chairman and all members of the Committee on 
Records and Reports and of all special committees em- 
phasize the tentative structure of the record-forms as they 
now stand. Although many have been used in thousands of 
cases, it is expected that further experience with them will 
reveal ways in which they can be improved. Those who have 
served in this phase of the Commission's work stress, also, 
the need of study and investigation looking to the develop- 
ment of records for use in helping, especially, those boys 
and girls who leave school directly for employment. Such 
records and reports are essential for intelligent vocational 
guidance and placement. 

While the Committee believes that the forms developed 
will prove suitable for many institutions, particularly in 
view of the flexibility of the forms, it realizes that for other 
institutions they may need modification, while for still others 
they may prove suggestive only in details or principles. 
Some of the individual co-operating schools, recognizing 
particular conditions or needs of their own, prepared record- 
forms that seemed suitable for their particular purposes. 
These schools may be able to help other schools having con- 
ditions much like their own. 

The work reported in this section is an integral and essen- 
tial part of the whole Eight- Year Study. Better relations be- 


tween schools and colleges, vitalized curriculums, more 
skillful and inspiring teaching, more significant and compre- 
hensive evaluation these and all other developments of 
the Study are intimately related to the records the schools 
keep and to the reports they make. 

Chapter V 

<<<<<<<<< c<<-c<<<<c<<c<<<<<<<-^^^^ 

Among the important purposes stated by all high schools 
"preparation for college" is always to be found near the top 
of the list. Even though a small minorityjg^to college, the 
school is vividly a^yare nf tVn'sj^Kj^^Hv^ All of the Thirty 
Schools stated that they expected to send young men and 
women into college well ready for the responsibilities they 
would meetjih^ser The schools in the Study, believing that 
therefore many different kinds of work through which stu- 
dents may develop the skills, habits, and qualities essential 
to satisfactory achievement in college, made such changes 
as are reported in Chapters II and III. Many of these inno- 
vations were marked departures from the conventional pat- 
tern prescribed as preparation for college. These changes 
were made to meet more fully the present, as well as future, 
needs of students. School work was brought much closer to 
students' lives; their concerns while in high school became 
content of the curriculum for all, whether they were going 
to college or not. 

It has long been assumed that adequate preparation for 
the work of the liberal arts college depends upon proficiency 
in certain studies in high school. The colleges and universi- 
ties have been saying something like this to prospective col- 
lege students: "To be ready for the work that will be ex- 
pected of you here, you should study English during your 
high school course. If you do well and secure good grades, 

1 02 


you will have 3 or 4 credits to present for admission. You 
should also study algebra for at least one year, preferably 
two, and geometry for one year. That will add 2 or 3 ad- 
mission credits. It is necessary for you to know at least one 
foreign language; therefore you must spend at least two 
years in the study of a foreign language. But we advise 
you to spend two more years in the study of that language, 
or two or three years in studying a second foreign language. 
That will provide from 2 to 5 more entrance credits. You 
must study history, preferably ancient history, for one year, 
and science, preferably physics or chemistry, for one year. 
There you have 2 more credits. You now have accumulated 
at least 9 entrance credits which we require; but if you 
have followed our recommendations, you have 14 of which 
we heartily approve. We require for admission a total of 15 
credits. To secure the required number you may present 
other subjects which you have studied in high school, but 
we advise you to present additional credits in those fields 
of study we have recommended. If you wish to offer credits 
in some other subjects such as mechanical drawing, art, 
or music your school must have its courses in these sub- 
jects approved by this college." 

Colleges differed, of course, in the rigidity with which they 
adhered to these prescriptions. Some prescribed more, some 
less. A few colleges imposed no credit prescriptions what- 
ever, but required entrance examinations in at least the four 
subjects studied in the senior year of high school. 

The Thirty Schools set out upon their explorations with 
the consent of practically all colleges and universities. From 
many the schools received sympathetic understanding. 
Taken by and large, the institutions of higher education have 
kept the agreement in letter and in spirit. In all cases. the 


participating schools were freed from subject and credit pre- 
scription and in most cases from entrance examinations. 
Hundreds of young men and women entered college from 
the Thirty Schools without having studied all of the usual 
required subjects. Some had taken such subjects, but for 
shorter time than is usually required. 

The Commission and the Schools 
Ask Questions 

It seemed to the Commission and the schools that an at- 
tempt should be made to learn whether departures from the 
conventional pattern of college preparation handicapped 
students in their work in college. The relation of school and 
college in American^d^ the assump- 

tion that thejldllrJ^Q^edge, discipline, habit of mind, and 
idingessential for success in college depend upon 
the study in high^ for certain 

periods-of time. Here was an opportunity to test that assump- 
tion. If the graduates of the Thirty Schools were not ready 
for college work, it would indicate that the assumption is 
sound; if they did well, there would be evidence that the 
assumption is untenable and that a sounder and more realistic 
basis of school and college relations should be established. 

Other related questions called for answer. Will these sec- 
ondary schools use their new freedom wisely? Can they be 
trusted? Will their standards of work suffer? If these thirty 
schools prove that they can be trusted to use freedom sanely 
and creatively, will it be safe for colleges to extend such 
freedom to other schools? Is it possible to give more attention 
to present concerns of all high school pupils without sacri- 
ficing adequate preparation for those going on to college? 
Can practicable ways be found for colleges and schools to 
work together more effectively for common purposes? 


The Investigation 
Is Planned 

According to the agreement made with the colleges, the 
first class to be included in this plan would enter college in 
September, 1936. Therefore, preparations were made to 
study the graduates of the Thirty Schools as they pursued 
their careers in college. Volume IV of the Commission's Re- 
port, entitled Did They Succeed in College? gives a detailed, 
complete account of this investigation and of the findings 
that resulted. Here, in this over-all report of the Eight- Year 
Study, the way in which the college study was conducted 
and the findings thereof are reported in summary only. 

The college investigation was made under the immediate 
direction of Dr. Ralph W. Tyler, Chairman of the Depart- 
ment of Education for the University of Chicago. Respon- 
sible, impartial members of college faculties who knew how 
to work with college students were chosen to make the 
study. 1 It should be understood that this college staff ap- 
proached their work without prejudice and without com- 
mitments to the Progressive Education Association or to the 

Their task was a challenging one, for the first questions 
they had to answer were these: What does success in col- 
lege mean? Upon what basis shall judgment be rendered? 
What are the significant aspects of the student's life at 
college? How can we discover and record the important 
evidences of his growth and development? 

1 John L. Bergstresser, Assistant Dean, University of Wisconsin, repre- 
sentative for the state universities, July, 1936 to July, 1937; Dean Chamber- 
lin, Assistant Dean of Freshmen, Dartmouth College, representative for the 
eastern men's colleges; Enid Straw Chamberlin, Instructor in English, Welles- 
ley College, representative for the eastern women's colleges; Neal E. 
Drought, Assistant Dean, University of Wisconsin, representative for the 
state universities from July, 1937 until the end of the Study; William E. 
Scott 7 Assistant Dean of Students, University of Chicago, representative for 
the endowed coeducational colleges; Harold Threlkeld, University of Denver, 
special representative for colleges in the Denver area. 


After spending the summer of 1936 in conference among 
themselves, with members of the Commission and the Com- 
mission's Staff, with teachers and principals in the Thirty 
Schools, with college deans, professors, and graduates, they 
drew up this set of criteria for their guidance: 

1. Intellectual competence 

2. Cultural development; use of leisure time; apprecia- 
tive and creative aspects 

3. Practical competence; common sense and judgment; 
ordinary manual skills; environmental adaptability 

4. Philosophy of life (pattern of goals) 

5. Character traits (pattern of behavior) 

6. Emotional balance (including mental health) 

7. Social fitness 

8. Sensitivity to social problems 

9. Physical fitness (knowledge and practice of health 

As the staff making this College Follow-up Study explains, 
"Each of these criteria was broken down into more detailed 
and specific subdivisions, and opposite each criterion were 
listed suggested possible sources of evidence." 2 For exam- 
ple, the first criterion, intellectual competence, was sub- 
divided as follows: 5 

Criteria Sources of Evidence 

1. Intellectual competence of 

the student 

A. Scholarship 1. Official college records 

Formal measurement of 2. Honors, prizes 
academic achievement 

2 Vol. IV, Did They Succeed in College? Chap. I. 

3 The other criteria with suggested sources of evidence may be found in 
tbid. 3 Appendix. 


Sources of Evidence 

1. Questionnaires; reading rec- 


2. Interviews, interests num- 

ber, quality, and variety 

3. Samples of written work 

4. Reports from instructors 

1. Tests 

2. Interviews 

3. Reports from instructors 


B. Intellectual curiosity and 
Manifestation of interest 

and activity in intellec- 
tual matters beyond 
course requirements 

C. Scientific approach 
Degree in which his work 

and thinking conform 
to the usually accepted 
characteristics of the 
scientific attitude 

D. Study skills and habits 
Willingness and ability 

to employ the tools of 

1. Subject-matter placement 


2. Oral reading tests 

3. Silent reading tests 

4. Other tests (library use, 

study techniques, etc. ) 

5. Samples of written work 

6. Reports from instructors 

a. Research ability 

b. Accuracy, thoroughness, 

and organization 

c. Facility with examina- 


d. Request for special aid 

7. Interviews and questionnaire 

a. Time distribution 

b. Study environment 

c. Student's own evaluation 

8. Official records 

a. Excuses and cuts 

b. Late papers 

c. Remedial records 

About 2000 graduates of the Thirty Schools entered 179 
colleges in the fall of 1936. It was obviously impossible for 


the college study staff to go to all these colleges to follow 
all students. Selection had to be made. This was done on 
the basis of three factors: (1) the number of graduates 
of the Thirty Schools enrolled; (2) types of colleges; (3) 
the degree of co-operation offered by the colleges to the 
Follow-up Staff. The colleges that were agreed upon as cen- 
ters for intensive study are: 

State Universities 

Ohio State University 
Oklahoma A. and M. College 
University of Oklahoma 
University of Michigan 
University of Wisconsin 

Men's Colleges 

Amherst College 
Brown University 
Columbia University 
Dartmouth College 
Harvard University 
Massachusetts Institute of 

Princeton University 
Williams College 
Yale University 

Coeducational Endowed Col- 
leges and Universities 

Cornell University 
Swarthmore College 
University of Chicago 
University of Denver 
University of Pennsylvania 
University of Tulsa 

Women's Colleges 

Bennington College 
Bryn Mawr College 
Mount Holyoke College 
Smith College 
Wellesley College 

Many other colleges co-operated in the study by distrib- 
uting questionnaires and by supplying the college observers 
with grades, instructors' reports, and other materials. Among 
the colleges thus assisting were: Iowa State College, Uni- 
versity of Iowa, Antioch College, Drake University, Colgate 
University, Johns Hopkins University, Lehigh University, 
Wesleyan University (Connecticut), Barnard College, Con- 
necticut College for Women, Mills College, Pembroke Col- 
lege, Radcliffe College, Sarah Lawrence College, and 
Simmons College. One hundred and twenty other colleges 


willingly supplied grades and other information to the 
Follow-up Staff upon request. 

It was necessary to establish some just basis of compari- 
son if the work of the graduates of the Thirty Schools was 
to be judged fairly. Since it was expected that they would 
be somewhat above the average college students in native 
ability, it would not do to compare their achievement with 
average performance. Therefore, a basis of comparison was 
established by matching, with utmost care, each graduate 
from the Thirty Schools with another student in the same 
college who had taken the prescribed courses, had grad- 
uated from some school not participating in the Study, and 
had met the usual entrance requirements. They were matched 
on the basis of sex, age, race, scholastic aptitude scores, 
home and community background, interests, and probable 
future. For example, here is a boy the son of a lawyer and 
a graduate of one of the large, public schools in the Study 
eighteen years of age, from a home and community which 
afford cultural and economic advantages, unusually able in 
mathematics and planning to become an engineer. As his 
"matchee," the Follow-up Staff selected in the same college a 
boy, eighteen years of age, who had a similar background, 
the same vocational interest and scholastic aptitude, but 
who had met the customary entrance requirements. 

The Staff Study 
the Students 

The members of the College Follow-up Staff did their 
work with painstaking care. They learned all they could 
about each student, treating alike the students from the 
Study and their matchees. Their sources of information were 
official college records, lists of honors or prizes won, reports 
from instructors, samples of written work, results of various 
types of tests given by the college, and the student himself. 


Each student was asked to reply to three questionnaires a 
year. After the first, which was filled out early in the school 
term, interviews lasting from fifteen minutes to two hours 
were held with each student. 

The conversation usually began with a discussion of the 
questionnaire, which asked about the student's academic, 
social, and personal problems; his health; his activities, 
athletic and otherwise; his reading, attendance at lectures 
and concerts, radio listening, and movie attendance. Also, 
the student was asked to discuss his preparation for college 
and his reaction to college life as he found it. The conversa- 
tion soon shifted to all sorts of topics: from raising puppies 
to world affairs. In most cases students welcomed the 
chance to talk freely with a friendly person who showed 
interest in them. From these written replies to questions, 
from long, informal talks, and from information secured 
from college records and college instructors, deans, and 
other personnel officers the College Staff came to know each 
student well. Upon this intimate and abundant knowledge 
they base the report of their investigation. 

Altogether, 1475 pairs of students were studied those 
entering college in 1936, for four years; those entering in 
1937, for three; those entering in 1938, for two; and the 
class entering in 1939, for one year. A vast amount of data 
was accumulated, and the Staff gave their summers and 
most of 1941 to analysis of the collected information. 

What did they discover? 

The Graduates of the Thirty 
Schools Succeed 

In the comparison of the 1475 matched pairs, the College 
Follow-up Staff found that the graduates of the Thirty 


1. earned a slightly higher total grade average; 

2. earned higher grade averages in all subject fields 
except foreign language; 

3. specialized in the same academic fields as did the 
comparison students; 

4. did not differ from the comparison group in the 
number of times they were placed on probation; 

5. received slightly more academic honors in each 

6. were more often judged to possess a high degree of 
intellectual curiosity and drive; 

7. were more often judged to be precise, systematic, 
and objective in their thinking; 

8. were more often judged to have developed clear or 
well-formulated ideas concerning the meaning of 
education especially in the first two years in col- 

9. more often demonstrated a high degree of resource- 
fulness in meeting new situations; 

10. did not differ from the comparison group in ability 
to plan their time effectively; 

11. had about the same problems of adjustment as the 
comparison group, but approached their solution 
with greater effectiveness; 

12. participated somewhat more frequently, and more 
often enjoyed appreciative experiences, in the arts; 

13. participated more in all organized student groups 
except religious and "service" activities; 

14. earned in each college year a higher percentage 
of non-academic honors (ofBcership in organiza- 
tions, election to managerial societies, athletic in- 
signia, leading roles in dramatic and musical pres- 
entations ) ; 


15. did not differ from the comparison group in the 
quality of adjustment to their contemporaries; 

16. differed only slightly from the comparison group in 
the kinds of judgments about their schooling; 

17. had a somewhat better orientation toward the choice 
of a vocation; 

18. demonstrated a more active concern for what was 
going on in the world. 

The College Follow-up Staff has this to say about these 

Some of these differences were not large, but wherever re- 
ported, they were consistent for each class. It is apparent that 
when one finds even small margins of difference for a number 
of large groups, the probability greatly increases that the differ- 
ences cannot be due to chance alone. 

It is quite obvious from these data that the Thirty Schools 
graduates, as a group, have done a somewhat better job than 
the comparison group whether success is judged by college 
standards, by the students 9 contemporaries, or by the individual 
students. 4 " 

When these results began to emerge, the Directing Com- 
mittee and school Heads asked whether this creditable show- 
ing might be due to the graduates of those of the Thirty 
Schools which had not departed greatly from traditional 
patterns and ways of college preparation. To answer this 
question the College Staff analyzed the records of the grad- 
uates of the six participating schools in which least change 
had taken place and the records of the graduates of the 
six schools in which the most marked departures from con- 
ventional college preparatory courses had been made. Each 
of these groups was studied in relation to its respective 
comparison group. 

4 Vol. IV, Did They Succeed in College? Chap. X. 

This investigation revealed that 

The graduates of the most experimental schools were strikingly 
more successful than their matchees, Differences in their favor 
were much greater than the differences between the total Thirty 
Schools and their comparison group. Conversely, there were no 
large or consistent differences between the least experimental 
graduates and their comparison group. For these students the 
differences were smaller and less consistent than for the total 
Thirty Schools and their comparison group. 5 

The College Follow-up Staff comments on these facts as 

If the proof of the pudding lies in these groups, and a good 
part of it does, then it follows that the colleges got from these 
most experimental schools a higher proportion of sound, effective 
college material than they did from the more conventional schools 
in similar environments. If colleges want students of sound 
scholarship with vital interests, students who have developed 
effective and objective habits of thinking, and who yet maintain 
a healthy orientation toward their fellows, then they will encour- 
age the already obvious trend away from restrictions which tend 
to inhibit departures or deviations from the conventional cur- 
riculum patterns. 6 

In order to refine this particular analysis still further, the 
graduates of two of the most experimental schools were 
selected for a separate study. One of these schools is a rela- 
tively small private school, the other is the experimental 
section of a large public school in the Study. In the private 
school were small classes, intimate knowledge of each stu- 
dent, close contact with his parents, and a fairly homogeneous 
economic and social background. In the public school many 
of these favorable conditions were lacking. The graduates of 
these two schools were contrasted with their matchees. As 

5 Ibid. 

Q Ibid., Chap. VIL 


a result, the staff reports that "the superiority of these pro- 
gressive graduates over their comparison group was greater 
than any previous differences reported." 7 The graduates of 
these two schools surpassed their comparison groups by 
wide margins in academic achievement, intellectual curi- 
osity, scientific approach to problems, and interest in con- 
temporary affairs. The differences in their favor were even 
greater in general resourcefulness, in enjoyment of reading, 
participation in the arts, in winning non-academic honors, 
and in all aspects of college life except possibly participa- 
tion in sports and social activities. 

Concerning the different conditions prevailing in these 
two schools, the College Staff has this to say: 

The products of these two schools are indistinguishable from 
each other in terms of college success. Good teaching obviously 
was characteristic of both these schools. But good teaching alone 
was not responsible for the superiority of the product good 
teaching, after all, was characteristic of most of the Thirty Schools, 
as well as most of the schools from which the comparison group 
was drawn. The other important characteristics of both schools 
were: their willingness to undertake a search for valid objectives; 
organizing curricula and techniques and setting them in motion 
in order to attain the objectives; and, finally, measuring the 
effectiveness of curricula and techniques by appropriate evalua- 
tion devices. These are basic processes; their utility in any type 
of school is proved. 8 

The Directing Committee asked a group of distinguished 
college officials to examine the findings of this investigation 
and to draw any conclusion which in their judgment the 
data warrant. This committee prepared a report which was 
presented by the chairman to various regional meetings of 

7 Ibid., Chap.X. 
s lbid., Chap. VIII. 


the Association of American Colleges early in 1940. Their 
report concludes with these two paragraphs: 9 

The results of this Study seem to indicate that the pattern of 
preparatory school program which concentrates on a preparation 
for a fixed set of entrance examinations is not the only satisfactory 
means of fitting a boy or girl for making the most out of the 
college experience. It looks as if the stimulus and the initiative 
which the less conventional approach to secondary school educa- 
tion affords sends on to college better human material than 
we have obtained in the past. 

I may add that this report to you has been approved by a 
Committee of the Commission on School and College Relations 
consisting of the following membership: President Barrows of 
Lawrence College, President Park of Bryn Mawr, Dr. Gumere 
of Harvard, Dean Speight of Swarthmore, Dean Brumbaugh of 
Chicago, and myself. 


The major findings of the investigation of the success of 
students in college were presented to the colleges in a series 
of regional, round-table conferences in the spring of 1940. 
The results of the Study, as presented, were not seriously 
questioned by anyone. What changes in school and college 
relations these conclusive findings will produce remains to 
be seen. Many colleges are now giving serious consideration 
to their relations with the schools from which their students 
come. There is reason to expect that the schools and col- 
leges of the country will soon draw more closely together 
in a mutually satisfying relationship. 

9 For complete report, see Appendix of this volume, pp. 147-150. 

Chapter VI 


? vvv* *i 

What can be said now at the end of the Eight- Year Study? 
What has been learned through this experience? Have the 
hopes and expectations of those who inaugurated the project 
been fulfilled? 

It should be recalled that the Commission had two major 

1. To establish a relationship between school and col- 
lege that would permit and encourage reconstruction 
in the secondary school. 

2. To find, through exploration and experimentation, 
how the high school in the United States can 'serve 
youth more effectively. 

Let us consider now the findings of the Study in the realm 
of school and college relations. The second part of this chap- 
ter presents conclusions based upon the experiences of the 
schools in their attempts to achieve the second major pur- 
pose: better service to American youth. 

Many Roads Lead 
to College Success 

The proposal for co-operation, which was approved by 
colleges and universities generally in 1932, established an 
effective co-operating relationship between them and the 
Thirty Schools for the period of the Study. It permitted and 
encouraged the participating schools to go ahead with their 



plans for revision of their work. As stated early in this vol- 
ume 1 the Commission and the schools held that 

success in the college of liberal arts does not depend 
upon the study of certain subjects for a certain period 
in high school; 

there are many different kinds of experience by which 
students may prepare themselves for successful work 
in college; 

relations more satisfactory to both school and college 
could be developed and established upon a permanent 

ways should be found by which school and college 
teachers can work together in mutual regard and un- 

The study of the college experience of the graduates of 
the Thirty Schools was made to secure evidence which 
would confirm these beliefs or show them to be unwar- 
ranted. The evidence is reported briefly in Chapter V and 
in detail in Volume IV of this Report. A careful examina- 
tion of the findings can leave no one in doubt as to the con- 
clusions that must be drawn: 

First, the graduates of the Thirty Schools were not handi- 
capped in their college work. 

Second, departures from the prescribed pattern of sub- 
jects and units did not lessen the student's readiness 
for the responsibilities of college. 

Third, students from the participating schools which 
made most fundamental curriculum revision achieved 
in college distinctly higher standing than that of 
students of equal ability with whom they were com- 
1 Chap. I, pp. 22, 23. 


These facts have profound implications for both school and 

First, the assumption that preparation for the liberal arts 
college depends upon the study of certain prescribed sub- 
jects in the secondary school is no longer tenable. This as- 
sumption has been questioned for some time. Earlier studies 
threw some doubt upon it. The results of this Study disprove 
it. Success in college work depends upon something else. 
Real preparation for college is something much more im- 
portant and vital than the accumulation of 15 prescribed 

School and college relations based upon this untenable as- 
sumption are neither satisfactory nor sound. The relation- 
ship is an unhappy one. Colleges criticize the schools saying 
that students come to college unprepared for their work, 
that they are deficient in even the most rudimentary aca- 
demic skills, that their habits of work are careless and super- 
ficial, and that they lack seriousness and clarity of purpose. 
Schools, on the other hand, charge that colleges regiment 
students, treat them too impersonally, counsel them inade- 
quately, and fail to stimulate them intellectually. Teachers 
in secondary schools say that college professors are unwill- 
ing or unable to see the great problems of the high school, 
thinking of it only as a place of preparation for college and 
forgetting the school's obligation to the 80 per cent who stop 
their schooling at or before graduation from high school. 
Whether these criticisms are warranted or not, they reveal 
an unsatisfactory relationship. It does not seem that there 
can be much more happiness in either group until a sound 
basis of relationship is established. 

The customary relations of school and college are un- 
sound in that emphasis is placed upon outworn symbols 
units, grades, rankings, and diplomas. To stand well with 


its patrons the high school must meet college requirements. 
If those requirements are not essentials, both school and 
college are forced into false positions. The college is placed 
in the position of saying that certain subjects, grades, and 
units are essential when it knows that they are not; and the 
school is placed in the false position of forcing students 
through work which may be of little value to them. 

The conclusion mast be drawn, therefore, that the assump- 
tion upon which school and college relations have been 
based in the past must be abandoned. It is evident that the 
liberal arts college has not examined its work thoroughly 
and realistically and based on that examination its prescrip- 
tion of what is essential in preparation. This Study has 
proved that some knowledges and skills heretofore generally 
assumed to be necessary are not needed. It has established, 
also, that necessary disciplines of mind and character may 
be achieved through many other subjects than those formerly 
assumed to be the only effective ones. 

It does not follow that it is useless or impossible to de- 
scribe what preparation is actually required for success in 
college. Indeed colleges need to know teachers, pupils, 
and parents need to know what knowledge, what skills, 
what habits, what attitudes constitute the foundation for 
satisfactory achievement in college. When these are deter- 
mined, colleges should then require them for admission; 
schools could then be intelligent in their important task of 

But this is more easily said than done. The college can- 
not state what preparation is essential unless it knows its own 
purposes. It must be said here that liberal arts college facul- 
ties seldom state clearly what they mean by liberal or general 
education. Perhaps they do not know. Individual professors 
often have clearly defined purposes. Sometimes departments 


such as English, history, economics have set up goals for 
their work. Rarely, however, have whole college faculties 
co-operatively thought their problem through and set forth 
their purposes and plans. 

Although co-operative faculty study of liberal education 
is not usual in colleges, in some the faculty as a whole is 
attempting to re-define general education and to revise its 
work in the light of clearer purpose. One college, 2 which has 
been studying this problem seriously, turned last year to 
the question of preparation for college. Dean Herbert E. 
Hawkes gives this encouraging report of their deliberations: 

A few weeks ago I called a conference of all the instructors 
of freshmen in Columbia College in order to talk about this im- 
portant topic. In the course of the conference I asked them what 
kind of students they really wanted in their courses, what kind 
of intellectual background, what pattern of preparation, what 
areas of competency. The replies were interesting. They reported 
with one accord that they wanted boys who could read with 
good speed and comprehension, and who knew how to gauge 
their reading to the various types of material that they were 
called upon to master. They wanted boys who had a reasonable 
facility in self-expression, both orally and in writing. So much 
for English. Then they wanted boys who knew how to tackle a 
hard intellectual job and carry it through to completion a boy 
who had acquired the habit and zest for work. You may call this 
discipline. Furthermore they wanted boys who knew an idea 
when they saw one, who were accustomed to dealing with ideas, 
in short, who had reasonable intellectual maturity. 

These three points were mentioned again and again in one 
form and another. The amazing fact was that very little was said 
about the specific pattern of subject-matter preparation. If the 
students had gained these fundamental qualities and attitudes 
they did not care where they got them. In fact, many of the 
instructors in the various freshman courses in social studies, in 
humanities and even in science said that they could not tell 

2 Columbia College, Columbia University. 


from the way in which a boy took hold of his college work 
whether he had passed this or that entrance examination except 
insofar as it was reflected in these qualities. To be sure, in the 
humanities it appeared that the boy who had good grounding 
in Latin had a head start in the reading of the Greek and Roman 
classics that are included in this course. But in this course, those 
who had received such training could not be distinguished from 
those who had not after a few weeks, provided they knew how 
to work. The corresponding fact held true in the sciences. 

Here is a college faculty declaring that success in college 
depends upon skill in the use of the mother tongue, readiness 
and ability to work hard, and "reasonable intellectual ma- 
turity/* Similar conclusions have been reached by other 
faculties. As more colleges re-examine their own purposes 
and procedures, and as they reconsider the problem of 
preparation for higher education, agreement may be reached 
upon some such essentials as those stated by the faculty at 

To go further and to conduct such co-operative study 
among many institutions is a most difficult task, as the Thirty 
Schools have discovered. Yet, if this were done, it would 
make possible a sound basis of relationship with schools. 
Until colleges and secondary schools know and agree on what 
they are trying to do, there is no intelligent way for them 
to unite their efforts on behalf of those who expect to go to 

It should be emphasized here that it is already possible for 
colleges to establish adequate admission requirements that 
do not prescribe the content or organization of the second- 
ary school curriculum. Prescription of subjects, units, and 
requirements of entrance examinations based upon prede- 
termined subject matter have undoubtedly fixed the pattern 
of secondary education for the great majority of young 


people in the United States. Without intending to do so, 
the colleges have handicapped schools in their attempts at 
fundamental reconstruction. To move ahead schools must 
have encouragement from colleges. To give that encourage- 
ment colleges must abandon their present admissions policy. 

No one questions the right of colleges to set up require- 
ments for admission of students. Quite properly colleges 
desire only those students who are equipped to do the work 
the college expects. They may justly require evidence of 
the candidate's fitness. It is the school's responsibility to pro- 
vide that evidence. But all colleges and universities, whether 
tax-supported or privately endowed, are public institutions 
and, therefore, they have a public responsibility. Accord- 
ingly, no college can be justified in setting up requirements 
for admission which have been shown to be unnecessary in 
preparing students to do college work. 

For the Thirty Schools many colleges waived the cus- 
tomary entrance examinations, and all colleges granted free- 
dom from subject and unit prescriptions. The schools, how- 
ever, gave colleges abundant significant evidence of the 
student's readiness for college work. Upon the basis of this 
evidence colleges selected candidates from the participating 
schools. The findings of the Commission's follow-up study 
show that the colleges were able to select students intelli- 
gently on the basis of the information provided by the 
Thirty Schools. These students did their college work at least 
as well as otters of equal ability, failed no more frequently, 
stayed in college and graduated in equal numbers, and won 
distinction more often. 

The Eight-Year Study has demonstrated beyond question 
that colleges can secure all the information they need for 
selection of candidates for admission without restricting the 
secondary school by prescribing the cuniculum. ,For this 


purpose, evidence from such sources as the following would 
provide ample data: 

1. Descriptions of students, indicating qualities of char- 
acter, habits of work, personality, and social adjust- 
ment. Many of the record-forms prepared by the 
Commission's Committee on Records and Reports are 
helpful and suggestive in this connection. 

2. The results of the use of instruments of evaluation 

a. Such standardized tests as are applicable to the 
school's work 

b. Other types of tests appropriate to the objectives 
of the school, such as those prepared by the Eval- 
uation Staff of this Study 

c. Scholastic aptitude tests that measure characteris- 
tics essential to college work and are independent 
of particular patterns of school preparation 

3. For colleges that require tests given by an outside 
agency, records of achievement in examinations that 
do not presuppose a particular pattern of content. 
An example is the Comprehensive English examina- 
tion of the College Examination Board. 

An admission plan such as this would not fix the content or 
organization of the high school curriculum. 

If such a plan were adopted generally by colleges, the 
secondary schools of the United States could go about their 
business of serving all youth more effectively. Uniformity 
would be neither necessary nor desirable in the work of 
the school. One student would develop the essential skills, 
habits of mind, and qualities of character through studies 
appropriate to his abilities, interests, and needs; another 
student would develop the essentials of mind and character 
through quite different studies. The secondary school would 


then be encouraged to know each student well and to pro- 
vide experiences most suitable to his development. This, 
in turn, would lead to dynamic school curricula, The static, 
frozen pattern of subjects and credits would disappear and 
secondary education would move ahead with other dynamic 
forces toward the achievement of a greater democracy. 

The second major implication of the results of the Eight- 
Year Study is that secondary schools can be trusted with a 
greater measure of freedom than college requirements now 
permit. The Thirty Schools, representing secondary schools 
of various kinds in many sections, have not abused their 
greater freedom. On the contrary, many college authorities 
wonder that these schools did not use their freedom more 
extensively. It may be thought that the participating schools 
were restrained from wild experimentation by the college 
members of the Directing Committee, but such was not the 
case. In fact, they have constantly urged the schools to 
greater adventure. However, custom is deeply embedded in 
secondary education. It is not easy to break down traditional 
patterns of thinking and acting, nor do teachers create new 
ones readily. 

Perhaps die chief reason for confidence in the schools* 
use of freedom is to be found in the genuine sense of re- 
sponsibility which most teachers feel. They are conscious 
of the far-reaching consequences of their work. Because of 
this sense of duty they do not turn lightly from practices 
of proved worth to engage in irresponsible experimentation. 
If some in the colleges feared that the Thirty Schools would 
use their freedom recklessly, they now know that their fears 
were without foundation. 

Without exception the colleges involved state that this 


Study has been very much worthwhile. Although there may 
be doubt concerning some of the innovations in the schools, 
the colleges are unanimous in recognizing the growth which 
the schools have achieved through participation in the enter- 
prise. The Thirty Schools fervently hope that their new 
work can be continued and developed more fully. This 
can be done only if their present freedom is not taken away 
from them. 

The existing agreement between the Thirty Schools and 
the colleges expires in 1943. "What will happen then?" 
the schools are asking. Will it be necessary to give up the 
new work, which the schools kre eager to carry on, and re- 
turn to prescribed courses and a static curriculum? Perhaps 
the colleges would be willing to extend the agreement with 
the Thirty Schools beyond 1943, but neither the Schools nor 
the Directing Committee favors continuing an arrangement 
involving only these schools... They hope for extension of 
the freedom which the member schools now have to com- 
petent schools everywhere. 

This can be done. As has been suggested in these pages, 
three steps should be taken: 

First, until the purposes of general education in the liberal 
arts colleges are clearly defined and plainly stated, subject 
and unit prescriptions and entrance examinations that pre- 
scribe the content or organization of the secondary school 
curriculum should be discontinued. 

Second, the knowledge, skills, habits, and qualities of mind 
and character essential as preparation for college work 
should be ascertained by colleges and schools co-operatively. 

Third, a plan of admission should be adopted which pro- 
vides the college with needed information concerning can- 
didates, but which does not prescribe the content or organ- 
ization of the secondary school curriculum. 


Should these three steps be taken great progress would 
surely come in both secondary and higher education through- 
out the country. Upon this new and sound basis schools and 
colleges would develop relations which would bring them 
together in mutual respect and understanding. Professors 
from the colleges and teachers from the schools would sit 
down together often to think and plan for the education 
of American youth. They would learn from each other. They 
would understand better one another's purposes and prob- 
lems. Theirs is a common task, the teachers at one level, 
the professors at another. By deliberating together tfiey 
would see that task more clearly and perform it more effec- 

During the eight years of the Study many school-college 
conferences have been held. They have always resulted in 
increased mutual regard and confidence. For many college 
professors and school teachers it was a new experience to 
spend two days together in an atmosphere of friendly co- 
operation around the conference table. This sort of ex- 
perience should not be rare; it is as necessary as any other 
conference with one's colleagues. Neither the school nor the 
college can understand fully or render adequately its service 
to youth apart from the other. 

The failure of schools and colleges to co-ordinate their 
work has resulted in enormous waste of time, effort, and 
money. The tragic consequences to thousands of boys and 
girls are beyond all measurement. But wastage of the na- 
tion's material and human resources need not continue. By 
taking time to know each other and by seeking together for 
solutions of common problems our institutions of secondary 
and higher education can bring their united strength to the 
service of the nation. 


The Schools Counsel from 
tieir own Experiences 

Early in the Eight- Year Study the member schools and 
the Commission promised to give a frank account o their ex- 
periences when the project came to its end. They said they 
would tell of mistakes and failures as well as successes, and 
they agreed to reveal the difficulties and problems they en- 
countered along the way. Anyone who has followed the 
story of the Study in this volume or delved more deeply 
into the other four volumes of the Report must be aware of 
the frankness and sincerity of the hundreds who have been 
engaged in this attempt to find better ways of serving Ameri- 
can youth. Although the schools* experiences have differed 
in many ways, it is possible to record some that have been 
fairly common and to draw out of them some lessons which 
may be helpful to other schools about to undertake the 
difficult task of reconstruction. 

Before summarizing the experience of the Thirty Schools, 
let it be said again that they do not pose as model schools. 
They do not claim to have solved all problems, nor do they 
think they "know all the answers/* They realize that many 
other schools, not included in this Study, have been en- 
gaged in the same task and that their contributions to the 
improvement of secondary education probably are just as 
important as the achievements of the schools which have 
participated in this project. 

The members of the Directing Committee and the teachers 
and administrators in the Thirty Schools have learned from 
the experiences of these eight years that effective secondary 
school reconstruction requires thorough preparation. 

This takes time. The schools which plunged into change 
without taking time to think their problems through often 
found it necessary to go back to the beginning and start 


over. This caused confusion and uneasiness which might well 
have been avoided. 

Thorough preparation demands co-operative deliberation. 
Piecemeal revision by individual teachers or subject depart- 
ments usually is disappointing. Every teacher's work is 
significant in its relation to the whole effort of the school. 
Therefore, any important change in any part of the school's 
work should be made only as one move in a comprehensive 
plan. Administrators, teachers, parents, and students should 
unite in the thinking and planning which should precede 
any revision of the school's work. 

All teachers should participate. When the Eight-Year 
Study was started, some schools selected a few members of 
the faculty for the new work; the others, who were not con- 
sulted, felt left out. This resulted in division and misunder- 
standing. In some schools it led to jealousy, bitterness, and 
sabotage of the new work. This unhappy state of affairs has 
long since disappeared in almost all of the schools, but it is 
a danger which can and should be avoided by giving every 
teacher an opportunity to share fully, to advocate or oppose 
change, to voice his convictions whatever they may be. 
Complete agreement is desirable and is sometimes reached 
by means of thorough discussion. However, unanimous de- 
cision is not essential. New work may be developed satis- 
factorily and without faculty dissension if every one shares 
in the deliberations which lead to change. 

Parents, too, must share in preparation for high school 
changes. The schools which did not draw patrons into the 
planning which preceded revision encountered parental 
misunderstanding. Unwarranted criticism and opposition 
were the results. In some instances worthy innovations had 
to be abandoned because of censure. This could have been 
avoided if these schools had taken pains to secure parental 


participation in the thinking which led to change in the 
curriculum. Moreover, these schools did not have the good 
counsel that many thoughtful laymen can give. Others of 
the member schools took parents into their confidence, con- 
sulted with them as plans were developed, and gained the 
strength of their support in new undertakings. Out of these 
happy and unhappy experiences the Thirty Schools have 
learned that no school is fully prepared for reconstruction 
unless the co-operation of parents has been secured. 

Adequate preparation involves research. Before any school 
revises its work the faculty should study the community the 
school serves and the needs of youth in that community. 
The results of research elsewhere should be studied care- 
fully for their application to the local situation. The services 
of specialists and experienced curriculum consultants should 
be secured if possible. Above all, the faculty should re- 
examine the democratic tradition, clarify its meaning, and 
consider its implications for the school in every phase of 
its work. 

No teacher or school is fully ready for constructive change 
until plans for appraising results are carefully formulated. 
The school should find out whether changes in curriculum 
and methods of teaching achieve purposes more effectively. 
The Thirty Schools emphasize the necessity of taking time 
to secure all possible evidence of student progress and to 
study that evidence searchingly for clues to further action. 
Equally important are adequate means for recording and 
reporting all significant aspects of pupil development. Eval- 
uating, recording and reporting are inextricably interwoven 
in the whole fabric of education. Therefore, they cannot be 
ignored in any sound preparation for educational recon- 

The Thirty Schools have learned that thorough prepara- 


tion for revision requires honest belief in exploration and 
experimentation as a method of educational progress. This 
means that principals and teachers must have an abiding 
faith in the possibilities of youth. They should be able to see 
in each boy or girl the potential self-supporting, well- 
adjusted man or woman of individual dignity and worth. 
It means, also, that the school believes sincerely in the possi- 
bility of continuous improvement of its own work that 
nothing is so well done that it cannot be done better. No 
teacher is ready to contribute to educational progress unless 
he is willing and able to reconsider and call in question 
whatever has been taken for granted. Open-minded analysis 
of assumptions is a strong stimulant to vigorous, construc- 
tive thinking. 

Constructive thinking requires the capacity to break up 
one's customary patterns of thought and to create new ones. 
This is especially necessary in those who would see educa- 
tion afresh. Usually education is thought of in patterns of 
school buildings, classrooms, classes, textbooks, courses, 
grades, credits, diplomas. It is only when these paraphernalia 
of education can be pushed into the background of one's 
mind that realistic thinking becomes possible. Only then is 
the teacher able to see the student as a young human being 
growing up in a very complex and difficult world. And only 
then can the teacher begin to see clearly and constructively 
what the school should be and do. 

Experience has taught the participating schools that no 
school is ready to advance until teachers have a sure sense 
of security in adventure. They are safe in following tradi- 
tion; they must be sure that they will be equally secure in 
departing from tradition. Only then can they maintain their 
personal and professional integrity and grow into the full- 
ness of their stature as teachers and personalities. 


Pleasant surroundings and favorable working conditions 
facilitate preparation for secondary school reconstruction. A 
modern, commodious, well-equipped building, spacious 
grounds, freedom from traffic noises, adequate libraries, 
laboratories, studios and shops, small classes, a homogeneous 
student body these are all much to be desired. But it has 
been learned that they are not essential. Some of the most 
significant contributions coming from the Eight- Year Study 
have been made by schools where few of these advanta- 
geous circumstances exist. Without strong conviction on the 
part of teachers that youth must be better served, no im- 
portant changes will be made. With that conviction, with 
leadership, co-operation, imagination, initiative, and courage 
teachers will move forward no matter how unfavorable the 
physical environment and working conditions may be. 

Out of their experience the Thirty Schools counsel others 
about to revise their work to take time to see where they 
are going, to "look before they leap." The high school which 
co-operatively re-examines, in an open-minded and realistic 
spirit, its service to its students and community always 
reaches the conclusion that many important needs of boys 
and girls are not being met satisfactorily and that some- 
thing should be done. Then these questions always arise: 
What part of our work should we surely retain? What part 
should be discontinued? What new work is needed? Shall 
we adopt this proposal or another? In what direction shall 
we move? 

Asking these questions, a school faculty might choose an 
easy solution by copying what some other school had done. 
They might turn, for instance, to this Report and adopt a 
revised curriculum which had been developed in one of the 
schools. Such a procedure would be a serious mistake and 
the results would certainly be unsatisfactory. Genuine re- 


construction does not come that way. All teachers, all 
faculties must go through the hard experience of thinking 
their own problems through. The experiences of other teach- 
ers and schools can be useful in pointing the way, but no 
teacher or school can travel for others the hard road of re- 
construction. Schools must find their own answers to their 
most puzzling questions. 

These questions cannot be answered intelligently until 
objectives are determined and clearly stated. Therefore, this 
difficult task must be attempted. Statements of objectives 
often have little meaning. Sometimes they are couched in 
such general terms that they provide no guidance. On the 
other hand, so many detailed, specific objectives are often 
listed that no sense of direction is indicated. The member 
schools encountered both of these difficulties early in the 
Study. Later when they were asked to restate their objectives 
in terms of desirable changes in pupils changes which 
could be observed or discovered objectively meaningless 
generalization and multiplicity of purpose were much less in 
evidence in the revisions. But this searching question re- 
mained largely unanswered: What changes in pupils are 
desirable? Thus the problem of purpose continued to thrust 
itself into the forefront of the thinking of the schools. They 
have learned that it cannot be escaped and that sure progress 
in reconstruction cannot take place in any school until unity 
and clarity of purpose are achieved. 

The purposes of the school cannot be determined apart 
from the purposes of the society which maintains the school. 
The purposes of any society are determined by the life values 
which the people prize. As a nation we have been striving 
always for those values which constitute the American way 
of life. Our people prize individual human personality above 
everything else. We are convinced that the form of social 


organization called democracy promotes, better than any 
other, the development of worth and dignity in men and 
women. It follows, therefore, that the chief purpose of educa- 
tion in the United States should be to preserve, promote, 
and refine the way of life in which we as a people believe. 

This, then, is the conclusion which grew out of the con- 
tinuing search for guiding objectives in the Thirty Schools. 
This great, central purpose gave direction. What part of 
the school's curriculum should be retained? That part which 
promotes the kind of life we seek. What changes in young 
people are desirable? Those which lead in the direction of 
democratic living. 

But what is the American way? What are the principles of 
democracy? These are the questions which individual teach- 
ers and school faculties sought to answer. They had to an- 
swer them clearly in order to know what the school should 
be and do, for they had become sure that the school should 
be a demonstration of democracy in action. This search for 
purpose and meaning was the turning point for many of 
the participating schools. 

The schools affirm that this concept of the chief purpose 
of education in the United States leaves no room for pro- 
vincialism or narrow, selfish nationalism. Our unique privilege 
as a nation is that of working out here, on this rich and 
pleasant land, the kind of life of which men of vision, good 
will, and noble character have long dreamed. Our roots go 
deep into the past. Our present and future are closely in- 
terwoven with the fate of all men and nations. Therefore, if 
our youth are to know and prize the American way of life, 
their studies should take them back to its origins and on 
to the great issues before us in a world in which we cannot 
live apart. 

Because their struggle to achieve clear purpose has proved 


to be of inestimable value to them, the Thirty Schools urge 
every school to search the democratic ideal for principles to 
guide thought and action in any attempted revision of ad- 
ministration, curriculum, or ways of teaching. That ideal, 
they say, sets up the guide-posts which point the sure way 
to reconstruction of every phase of American secondary 

The school which has prepared itself thoroughly and es- 
tablished its central purpose is now ready to proceed con- 
fidently with the arduous task of reconstruction. The Thirty 
Schools have learned that effective democratic leadership 
is essential. The principal is the one who would be expected 
to lead. That school is fortunate whose principal has the 
capacity and skill to be the educational leader. Some princi- 
pals cannot carry this responsibility. They are excellent 
executives rather than leaders of thought. Usually such 
principals recognize their limitations and turn to others for 
the kind of strength they do not possess. That is often found 
in some member of the faculty. By close co-operation the 
principal and faculty leader are able to unite the school in 
thought and action. 

Whatever the conditions are, educational leadership there 
must be. Although the leader must be a thoughtful educa- 
tor, he does not do the thinking for the faculty; he stimu- 
lates and challenges their thinking. He respects their worth, 
believes in their integrity, welcomes their best thought, and 
unites them in the great common cause of making education 
more fruitful for every boy and girl in the school. He keeps 
all eyes constantly upon the students. 

The pupils, too, have an important part in school recon- 
struction. To those who have been working with the schools 
during the eight years of the Study, it seems that the most 
profound change is the shift in emphasis from subject 


matter to the boys and girls themselves. Curriculum con- 
tent is still important, but only as it helps young people 
with their problems of living in our democracy. What- 
ever the school does, finds its value in service to youth. 
It follows, then, that they should share in making the 
curriculum. Experience has taught that high school stu- 
dents are well able to share effectively in school recon- 
struction. Many of them have surprised and delighted their 
teachers by the mature and constructive thought which 
they have brought to the problem when they were in- 
vited to think with teachers and parents about the work 
of the school. 

Therefore, the participating schools advise taking stu- 
dents into partnership in changing the general life of the 
school and in revising the curriculum. Their ability to 
share responsibility in school organization and government 
has been demonstrated in schools everywhere, but their 
readiness and capacity for participation in curriculum mak- 
ing have only recently been discovered. In many of the 
member schools students are now habitually consulted 
concerning curriculum problems, and teacher-pupil plan- 
ning is becoming an established practice. 

The reasons for pupil participation are compelling. The 
schools have taken the position that the source of the cur- 
riculum is to be found in the concerns of youth and in the 
nature of the society which the school serves. Therefore, 
youth should have opportunity to ask that the schools heed 
their needs and to tell what some of those needs are. An 
even more vital reason for their sharing is that the kind of 
life we seek in America can be achieved only by full par- 
ticipation in planning for the common welfare and in meet- 
ing common responsibilities. School is the place for youth 


to develop the habit of co-operative thought and skill in 
group action. 

Even with competent leadership and effective student co- 
operation, no school can go very far along the road of re- 
construction without freedom to act according to its best 
judgment. The schools in the Study have had that freedom 
for eight years. A plan is proposed earlier in this chapter 
by which all schools may have the freedom essential to 
progress. When it comes, schools will learn, as the Thirty 
Schools did, that greater freedom entails greater responsi- 
bility for wise guidance of youth. But young people cannot 
be counseled wisely by the school unless each individual 
is well known by some teacher. Ways by which each boy and 
girl can be known intimately have been suggested in these 
pages.* However, intimate knowledge of a student does not 
of itself bring intelligent guidance. Teachers must have 
time and opportunity to use that knowledge to the student's 
advantage. The wisest teachers should have the largest 
measure of responsibility for counseling. Sometimes special- 
ized, professional advice is needed, but of one thing the 
schools are sure: that guidance cannot be divorced from the 
everyday work of the classroom. All teachers share this 

But who shall give teachers wisdom sufficient for guidance 
of youth? To that question there is no answer, but the 
teachers who have become wise through experience say that 
preparation for teaching should be quite different from that 
usually provided by colleges of Education. Preparation for 
teaching in the high school that is emerging should lead 
to understanding of young people their urges, drives, con- 
cerns, and problems. At the same time it should develop 
a clear concept of the democratic ideal and insight into the 

8 Chap. II, pp. 37-39. 


social problems that must be solved if American society and 
education are to approximate the ideals which our people 

Each teacher needs competence in his own field, of course, 
but he needs a broader competence. Fusion courses, broad 
fields, culture-epochs, career-centered courses, core curricu- 
lums all these are designed to meet youth's needs more 
directly. They require teacher collaboration. This unity of 
teacher effort demands the breaking down of artificial bar- 
riers which have separated teacher from teacher and sub- 
ject from subject. It also calls for the removal of the limita- 
tions which have prevented teachers from becoming truly 
educated persons themselves. When they work together, 
they learn from each other. When they consider the whole 
responsibility of the school, they gain insight into the 
implications and relationships of their fields of work. 
Whatever the form of curriculum organization, teachers 
should work together for common purposes, clearly under- 
stood and constantly kept in mind. The Thirty Schools agree, 
therefore, that narrow subject specialization by teachers, 
which stands in the way of their co-operation with others 
and blinds them to youth's needs, should disappear from 
secondary education. 

With the best possible preparation, the teacher will still 
have to learn through experience how to know, understand, 
and guide young people. As he works with them day after 
day in the classroom, his relationship with his students be- 
comes, more and more, that of friendly counselor. To have 
that relationship, the work of the classroom must be vital to 
students. Therefore the content of the curriculum becomes 
extremely important. 

What Jiave-the ThJbdty^ the cur- 

riculum? They have five, conclusions to report. 


First, every student should achieve competence in the es- 
sential skills of communication reading, writing, oral ex- 
pression and in the use of quantitative concepts and sym- 

Second, inert subject-matter should give way to content 
that is alive and pertinent to the problems of youth and mod- 
ern civilization. 

Third, the common, recurring concerns of American youth 
should give content and form to the curriculum. 

Fourth, the life and work of the school should contribute, 
in every possible way, to the physical, mental and emotional 
health of every student. 

Fifth, the curriculum in its every part should have one 
clear, major purpose. That purpose is to bring to every young 
American his great heritage of freedom, to develop under- 
standing of the kind of life we seek, and to inspire devotion 
to human welfare. 

This report of lessons learned by the Thirty Schools 
could be extended indefinitely, but that would be of doubtful 
value to other schools. However, one other result of the 
Eight-Year Study should be reported as this record of adven- 
ture is brought to a close. Participation in the Study has 
brought renewed vitality to every school. Whether the school 
altered its curriculum and ways of teaching markedly or not, 
whether its contributions to the improvement of secondary 
education are small or great, each one brings enthusiastic 
testimony to the extraordinary value of the experience. Out 
of their attempts to meet a challenge, out of searching study 
of their own work, out of their struggle to serve youth bet- 
ter, the Thirty Schools have grown immeasurably in educa- 
tional stature and wisdom. 

Throughout the nation there are thousands of high schools, 
large and small, in city and country, still following tradi- 


tion. In these schools, faithful teachers are increasingly aware 
that their boys and girls are facing urgent problems of liv- 
ing with little help from any source. These teachers are 
beginning to see that much of the help which youth seeks 
must come from the high schools; this means that education 
must take on new responsibilities. 

To fulfill these wider obligations schools must have a con- 
siderable measure of the freedom that the Thirty Schools 
have had during these eight years. This freedom was a chal- 
lenge to the best that was in them. Who can doubt that other 
schools would respond equally well to the same challenge? 
As hundreds of teachers in the participating schools discov- 
ered in themselves unknown creative powers, so would thou- 
sands of others develop new vitality and strength in their 
attempts to perform new duties. Surely the freedom which 
produces such results will not long be denied. 

The ten million boys and girls now in our high schools 
cannot carry the nation's burden in this hour of world con- 
flict. That burden is ours. We are detennined that the earth 
they inherit shall not be in chains. Theirs will be the task 
that only free men can perform in a world of freedom. It 
will be an even greater task than ours. To prepare them for 
it is the supreme opportunity of the schools of our democracy. 




May, 1932 


Students of education in America know that the elementary 
school has changed fundamentally in organization, curriculum 
and procedure within the last decade, and that profound changes 
are taking place in our universities and colleges. But similar re- 
construction in the secondary schools is difficult, if not impossible, 
under present conditions. Recognizing the need of improvement 
in secondary education, and realizing that any significant change 
involves the co-operation of the colleges, the Progressive Educa- 
tion Association appointed, almost two years ago, a Commission 
on the Relation of School and College. Last December, a gener- 
ous grant of funds for the work was provided by The Carnegie 
Corporation of New York. 


Mr. Wilford M. Aikin, Director, John Burroughs School, Chairman 
Professor Walter Raymond Agard, University of Wisconsin 
Mr. Willard Beatty, Superintendent of Schools, Bronxville, N. Y. 
Mr. Bruce Bliven, Editor, The New Republic 
Dean C. S. Boucher, University of Chicago 

*Mr. A. J. Burton, Principal, East High School, Des Moines, Iowa 
Miss Flora S. Cooke, Director, Francis Parker School 
Mr. Harold Ferguson, Principal, Montclair High School 
Mr. Burton P. Fowler, Director, Tower Hill School 
Dr. Josephine Gleason, Vassar College 

Dr. Thomas Hopkins, Curriculum Research Specialist, Lincoln School 
Dr. Leonard V. Koos, University of Chicago 
Dr. W. S. Learned, The Carnegie Foundation 
President Robert D. Leigh, Bennington College 
Dr. John A. Lester, The Hill School 



Dean Max McConn, Lehigh University 

Mr. Clyde R. Miller, Teachers College, New York 

*Dr. Jesse H. Newlon, Director, The Lincoln School 
Dr. W. Carson Ryan, Swarthmore College 
Dr. Harold Rugg, Teachers College, Columbia University 

*Miss Ann Shumaker, Editor, Progressive Education 
Dr. Eugene R. Smith, Director, Beaver Country Day School 
Mr. Perry Dunlap Smith, Director, North Shore Country Day School 
Miss Katharine Taylor, Director, Shady Hill School 
Dr. Vivian Thayer, Ethical Culture School 

Professor Goodwin Watson, Teachers College, Columbia University 
President Raymond Walters, University of Cincinnati 
Dr. Ben D. Wood, Collegiate Education Research, Columbia University 

The Commission desires to bring about such changes in the 
relation of school and college as will permit sound experimental 
study of secondary education. It is concerned with all students, 
but especially with those who plan to go to college, and it seeks 
to establish conditions under which schools may develop more 
fully in all students a strong sense of individual and social re- 
sponsibility. The Commission wishes, also, to make it possible 
for schools and colleges to help each student shape his course 
so that it will be best fitted to his needs, and so that his work 
will have meaning and significance for him, 


The following Plan is presented for approval: 
A. A small number of schools, probably not more than twenty, 
will be chosen to carry on experiments in secondary education 
appropriate to the purpose of this Plan. The number is limited 
so as not to be unwieldy for experimental purposes. There will 
be included public and private schools each with funds, faculty 
personnel and interest, parental support, and administrative 
leadership adequate to the task. Only schools of highest character 
and excellence and established reputation will be admitted' to 
this group. These schools will enter into an admissions arrange- 
ment (described below) with colleges for an experimental period 
of five years beginning with the autumn of 1936. 

* Deceased. 


NOTE: As this arrangement permits the schools to change their 
curriculums in the fall of 1933, candidates for admission to col- 
lege in 1936 will have had three years' experience under the 
reconstructed curriculum before leaving the preparatory 

B. A Directing Committee has been appointed to supervise 
all aspects of the Plan, including the practical co-ordination be- 
tween schools and colleges and the securing of effective educa- 
tional procedure. The membership of the Committee, which rep- 
resents the various types of colleges and schools sharing in the 
study, is given in the accompanying letter. 

As the work develops, the functions of this Committee, in its 
relations to the schools and colleges involved, will become in- 
creasingly clear. At the present time it is plain that its respon- 
sibilities will include: 

1. Selection of the schools to share in the experiment 

2. Examination of plans of work and proposed curricula sub- 
mitted by the schools 

3. Approval, rejection or revision, in collaboration with the school, 
of plans submitted 

4. Working with each school in the systematic study and develop- 
ment of its work as it proceeds and obtaining full and adequate 
reports from time to time 

5. Determining the degree of uniformity necessary or desirable 
in the work of the schools sharing in the plan 

6. Bringing the schools and colleges into close co-operation in 
guiding each student's work. As soon as a pupil has indicated 
his choice of a college, it is hoped that representatives of the 
college will work with the school in studying and counseling 
the candidates, and that the school will work with the college 
after the student begins his college career, 

7. Suggesting such modifications in college regulations and pro- 
cedure for the students entering during the five year period 
under the new arrangement as will conserve the fundamental 
educational values of the experiment 

8. Systematic observation of these students during college and as 
many years thereafter as seems wise, with the idea of evaluat- 
ing the work of the schools participating in this study 



Admission to college for the experimental period will be based 
upon the following criteria: 

A. Recommendation from the principal of the co-operating 
secondary school to the effect that the graduating student (a) is 
possessed of the requisite general intelligence to carry on college 
work creditably; (b) has well defined serious interests and pur- 
poses; (c) has demonstrated ability to work successfully in one 
or more fields of study in which the college offers instruction. 

B, A carefully recorded history of the student's school life 
and of his activities and interests, including results of various 
types of examinations and other evidence of the quality and 
quantity of the candidate's work, also scores on scholastic apti- 
tude, achievement, and other diagnostic tests given by the schools 
during the secondary school course. 

It is intended that the tests used will be of such character that 
the results submitted to the colleges will give a more adequate 
and complete picture of the candidate than is given by methods 
now in use. A special Committee on Records is now at work 
endeavoring to determine: 

1. what information the college needs for wise selection and 
guidance of students 

2. how that information can best be secured 

3. in what form it should be recorded and presented to the 

The co-operating colleges will not be obliged to admit under 
this agreement all such students as meet die new requirements. 
However, during the experimental period and from the limited 
group of co-operating schools, the colleges agree to accept stu- 
dents under this plan without regard to the course and unit re- 
quirements now generally in force for all students, and without 
further examination. The colleges, for this period, agree also that 
students applying for admission under the new requirements will 
be considered without discrimination in comparison with students 
applying from other schools where present requirements are in 



The educational emphasis in this Plan is based upon a convic- 
tion that the secondary schools must become more effective in 
helping young people to develop the insight, the powers and 
the self-direction necessary for resourceful and constructive liv- 
ing. We wish to work toward a type of secondary education 
which will be flexible, responsive to changing needs, and clearly 
based upon an understanding of young people as well as an under- 
standing of the qualities needed in adult life. 

We are trying to develop students who regard education as an 
enduring quest for meanings rather than credit accumulation; 
who desire to investigate, to follow the leadings of a subject, 
to explore new fields of thought; knowing how to budget time, to 
read well, to use sources of knowledge effectively and who are 
experienced in fulfilling obligations which come with member- 
ship in the school or college community. 

To this end we should like to provide, more fully than the 
present organization of secondary education permits, for changes 
such as are indicated under the following headings: 

A. Greater mastery in learning: 

acquisition of such techniques as reading with speed and compre- 
hension, observing accurately, organizing and summarizing informa- 
tion; ability to work with many kinds of materials; capacity to see 
facts in their relationships; ability to state ideas clearly; techniques 
essential as a foundation for later advanced study. 

B. More continuity of learning; 

the elimination, wherever advisable, of limited, brief assignments and 
courses; a more coherent development of fields of study; provision for 
more consecutive pursuit of a particular subject through several years; 
encouragement (including the devising of ways and means and the 
allowance of sufficient time in the school schedule) of the desire to 
investigate; development of the power and impetus to pursue a sutject 
beyond the school requirement, and stimulation of the desire to put 
ideas to use. 

There should he less emphasis on subjects and more on continuous, 
unified sequence of subject matter, planned on a four-year or six-year 
basis. English is the only course that at present even approximates 


this aim. Continuous courses in the sciences and social sciences would 
take the place of such fragments of subject matter as chemistry or 
modern European history. Chemistry has its biological, geological, or 
astronomical implications that should not be overlooked if the whole 
of science is to have significance. Similarly, such cultures as those of 
South America and Asia should have a place in history courses, for 
comparative study, as well as those of Europe and the United States. 
Mathematics and foreign languages also, would be reorganized in a 
manner to enable the pupil to get a 'long" view of these fields of sub- 
ject matter. 

C. Release of creative energies: 

through experience and training in various arts, including both practice 
and appreciation (ex: painting, modeling, writing, drama, music); 
through the encouragement, in all work, of independent, individual 
thinking and of fresh combining of thought; through providing oppor- 
tunities, with guidance, for young people to exercise their desire to do 
something "on their own" (ex: tinkering, inventing, constructing, spe- 
cial pursuits in reading, instrumental music). 

D. Clearer understanding of the problems of our civilization, and the 
development of a sense of social responsibility: 

through including, in the curriculum, studies bearing upon specific 
problems of American civilization and that of the modern world, and 
the outstanding individual and collective efforts to solve these prob- 
lems; through using every opportunity to help students to realize the 
interdependence and inter-relationships of human lives; through help- 
ing students to develop social responsibility, in feeling and in practice 
as well as in appreciation of the issues involved, by means of such 
activities as participation in school community life with concern for 
the general welfare, discussion groups on social and economic prob- 
lems, field trips to study industrial processes, housing conditions, or 
the machinery of government; a model league of nations, or assembly 
programs which require, as do all the foregoing activities, much read- 
ing and investigation in the broad fields of social relationships. 

E. Revision of curriculum materials and their organization: 

besides the changes in curriculum materials to be inferred from the 
above-mentioned changes in practice, such other experiments as: 
reorganizing the sequence of material in different fields of knowledge, 
for secondary education (ex: mathematics, science, history, language); 


unifying the subjects of study and removing some of the boundaries 
now existing between closely related fields (ex: history in its relation 
to the facts of economics, geography, literature and fine arts); addi- 
tion of new materials from fields of knowledge not hitherto included 
in typical secondary school curricula (ex: certain materials from the 
fields of economics, anthropology, geology). 

F. Guidance of students: 

The function of guidance in education needs much greater study 
and emphasis. While it is important that the student should have as 
much independence and responsibility as he can use wisely, counsel 
of the best sort should be available when he needs it. Some one should 
know him well and be able and ready to examine his problems with 
him and to help him solve them. He should be helped to see his career 
through school and college as a developing experience, with each 
phase in a definite relationship toward the whole. 

Under the Directing Committee, plans will be worked out to 
achieve this purpose. The program will include: more thorough study 
of the needs of individuals, with corresponding adjustment of the 
school program to their needs; record-keeping for later analysis; more 
intelligent preparation of the student for the use of the opportunities 
provided by the colleges. 

G. Teaching: 

It is evident that the changes in secondary education suggested in 
this memorandum cannot occur without teaching of a very high qual- 
ity. This would be true of any experimental work. We fully recognize 
the scarcity of teachers who are qualified in background, in training 
and in personality for this type of work. There are, however, some 
teachers now at work who could successfully carry through the sug- 
gested program. Some of these are already studying its possibilities. 
Others will be discovered as the work is begun. 

Schools, colleges, and universities that are undertaking the training 
of teachers will be interested in helping select the most promising 
candidates and in training them in the best possible ways for this 
work. We fully realize that the discovery and training of better teach- 
ers must go hand in hand with wise experimentation, and that experi- 
ments must move slowly enough to keep within the limits of available 
good teaching. 


(NOTE: This Committee's analysis was made before the Study 
was complete, but final results confirm the conclusions drawn 
by these well-known college officials.) 






Some seven years ago the Commission of the Progressive Edu- 
cation Association on School and College Relations was organ- 
ized under subventions from the Carnegie Corporation of New 
York and the General Education Board. One of the most impor- 
tant questions on which this Commission, which is usually re- 
ferred to as the Eight- Year Study, wished to obtain reliable 
evidence was that of the relation between the pattern of the 
preparatory school program and college success. Thirty schools 
of various types were selected for participation in the Study, 
some of them known as very progressive, others as relatively 
conservative. Liberal arts colleges from every part of the country 
were almost unanimous in expressing their willingness to admit 
from these schools, during the eight-year period of the Study, 
students who seemed competent to carry the work of the college 
successfully, without reference to specific requirements for ad- 

Seven of the eight years have passed, and many students who 
entered the Thirty Schools when the Study started have now 
completed three years of college work. Students in the following 
years have completed two and one year respectively, of college 
residence. There is now available a wealth of information as to 
the college success of these students who received their prepara- 
tion in the Thirty Schools. Many predictions were ventured at 
the beginning of the Study, but only recently do we have a real 
ground for conviction. 

It should be stated that many of the Thirty Schools modified 


their curriculum radically after entering the Study; others have 
made only slight changes. So far as I know, none of the colleges 
which these students have entered have modified their curriculum 
or requirements for their degrees for these students as a group. 
That is, we have light on the question as to whether the work 
of these schools which most of us would classify as progressive 
schools, and the character of the teaching and general experience 
in these schools, fits or misfits students for college work. 

About 2,000 students from the Thirty Schools entered college 
in September of each year from 1936 to 1939 inclusive. Of these 
students, 1,475 were enrolled in about 30 colleges in sufficiently 
large groups to justify a detailed following of their success during 
their college residence. It should be mentioned that the Thirty 
School graduates score distinctly higher on aptitude or intelli- 
gence tests than tibe average entering student. So far as one can 
judge, their mean is in about the 65th percentile. It was there- 
fore necessary in determining the college success of these stu- 
dents, to set up a control or comparison group in each college 
in which each Thirty Schools student is matched as exactly as is 
humanly possible in terms of age, sex, race, aptitude, interests, 
size and type of home community, and family background. It goes 
without saying that such a comparison group does not furnish 
a perfect statistical control, but it is probably as nearly perfect 
as the measurement of college success in terms of instructors* 

The earliest basis for comparison appears when these students 
present themselves for placement tests in order to determine 
whether they ought to be promoted above or demoted below the 
point that their raw entrance records would indicate. Results on 
this point are only fragmentary and from three liberal arts col- 
leges in state universities. In these three institutions, 41 Thirty 
School graduates were exempt from the usual freshman courses 
in English, foreign languages, history, or chemistry, as against 
26 in the comparison group. Six Thirty Schools students were 
required to repeat courses on the basis of the placements, while 
two of the comparison group were so required. This is not a 
complete or a surprising result, since the Thirty Schools grad- 
uates might be expected to have concentrated more intensely 


during their preparatory school course on the subjects of their 
greatest interest. 

In order to obtain a comparison between the Thirty Schools 
graduates and their mates in the control group, members of the 
staff of the Eight- Year Study have visited the institutions where 
any considerable number of the students were registered in order 
to become personally acquainted with them and with their con- 
trols, so that they might reach as well considered opinions as 
possible regarding their adjustment to the work of the college, 
and the measure of success that they attained, both in their 
studies and in their social relations. Comparisons in each of the 
major fields of study between the Thirty Schools graduates and 
their control mates have been made with scrupulous care. I will 
not go into the statistical results at this time. .(Sufficient to say 
that a comparison of the 1,475 students from the Thirty Schools, 
which were about evenly divided between the sexes, indicates 
very little difference in college grades between them and their 
controlsXOn the whole, the students from the Thirty Schools 
were superior to the control group. Those who have been in col- 
lege for three years excelled slightly in the humanities, the social 
sciences, and the physical sciences. The grades were almost ex- 
actly even in English and the biological sciences. They were 
distinctly inferior in the foreign languages, but distinctly superior 
in such subjects as fine arts, music and the like^I will not at- 
tempt to analyze the results for those who have had only two 
or one year of college experience, except to say that the students 
from the Thirty Schools who entered in 1938, and whose college 
records for only one year are available, excel their controls from 
the other type of school in every field of study, notably in Eng- 
lish, humanities, physical sciences, and mathematics. This may 
reflect the careful job that the faculties of the Thirty Schools 
have done during the past three years in improving their cur- 
riculum, and affording a more adequate intellectual training for 
their students .N 

One further observation is interesting. A report on the college 
success of the graduates of the six of the Thirty Schools whose 
programs differ most from the conventional pattern is compared 
with that of their comparison groups. A complementary report 


has been made on the college success of the graduates of the 
six of the Thirty Schools which differ least from the conventional 
pattern as compared with their matched pairs. There were 361 
students from the least conventional six schools, and 417 from 
the most conventional schools. It turns out that the students from 
the least conventional schools excelled their controls by a score 
that may roughly be expressed as 27 to 7, while the students 
from the most conventional schools of the Thirty were excelled 
by their control group by a score that may roughly be expressed 
as 14 to l&J-Jhat is, so far as these data are significant, the stu- 
dents from the schools whose pattern of program differed most 
from the conventional were very distinctly superior to those from 
the more conventional type of school/" 

I should add that in extra curricula interests non-athletic in 
character, the graduates of the Thirty Schools were markedly 
more alert than their comparison group. 

The results of this Study seem to indicate that the pattern of 
preparatory school program which concentrates on a preparation 
for a fixed set of entrance examinations is not the only satisfac- 
tory means of fitting a boy or girl for making the most out of the 
college experience. It looks as if the stimulus and the initiative 
which the less conventional approach to secondary school educa- 
tion affords sends on to college better human material than 
we have obtained in the past. 

I may add that this report to you has been approved by a 
Committee of the Commission on School and College Relations 
consisting of the following membership: President Barrows of 
Lawrence College, President Park of Bryn Mawr, Dr. Gummere 
of Harvard, Dean Speight of Swarthmore, Dean Brumbaugh of 
Chicago, and myself. 




Administration, 33-39; democratic, 
34-37; different types of, 33-39; 
leadership in curriculum change, 
33-39; problems of, in reconstruc- 
tion, 35 

Administrator (see also Principal); 
faith by, in others, 34 

Admission to college (see College 

Adolescent concerns (see Concerns 
of youth, Needs of youth, Prob- 
lems of youth) 

Adult society, demands of, as cri- 
teria for curriculum, 74, 76 

Adventure, spirit of, in the Study, 
25, 45 

Adviser (see Counselor) 

American way of life (see also De- 
mocracy); co-operative planning 
in, 135-136; examination of, in 
preparation for reconstruction, 
132-134; maintenance and pro- 
motion of, as school concern, 30; 
meaning of, 31-32, 133-134; taken 
for granted, 9; understanding of, 
lacking, 4 

Appraisal (see Evaluation) 

Areas of Adult Activity, curriculum 
built on, 74 

Areas of Living, core curriculum 
based on, 58-62 

Arts, the, for all, 70-72; enrich other 
activities, 70; in the core cur- 
riculum, 71; as "fads and frills,"* 
6; importance of, in life of youth, 
71-72; reflective thinking in, 83; 
release of creative energy through, 

Associated living, as a means of in- 
dividual development, 31 

Association of American Colleges, 
implications of the Study reported 
to, 150; report of the Study to, 

115, 147-150; results of the Study 
reported to, 114-115, 150 

Assumptions regarding college prep- 
aration, questioned, 22, 104 

Authoritarianism, by administrators, 
33-34; change from, to democracy, 
by teachers, 78 

Autocracy of schools, 4-5 

Autonomy of Thirty Schools, 15 

Basic course (see Core curriculum) 

Behavior Description Report, 98-100 

Beliefs, Scale of, test, 92 

Broad-fields curriculum, 50-53; con- 
tent and organization of, 52-53; 
difficulties and mistakes in, 53; 
science in, 51-52 

Carnegie Corporation, grant to Com- 
mission, 140, 147 

Career-centered curriculum, 55-57 

Changes (see also Reconstruction, 
Curriculum reconstruction); par- 
ents' participation needed for, 39; 
in pupils, as purpose of schools, 
132; needed in school-college re- 
lations, 115; sought by the Study, 
18, 144-147; in subject matter in 
conservative schools, 46-49 

China, unit on, in culture-epoch 
course, 54-55 

Civilization, understanding problems 
of, 145 

Classroom, co-operative activity in, 
18; democratic processes in, 77- 
79; discussion in, 79; pupil-teacher 
planning in, 43; purposes (larger 
and immediate) in, 50 

College admission (see also Col- 
lege, preparation for); arts and 
music courses offered for, 70; 
criteria for, 12, 143; information 
(sources of) for, 123; prescrip- 



tions for, abandonment of, desir- 
able, 122, 125, continuing sub- 
jects beyond, 49, credits as, 102- 
103, as excuse by schools for 
inaction, 22, schools freed from, 
22, 104, unnecessary, 122-123; 
proposed plan for, 122-124; rec- 
ords (desirable types of) for, 95; 
tests for, 143 

College credits, as admission pre- 
scriptions, 102-103; as school 
goals, 7 

College, preparation for, Columbia 
instructors* preference of, 120- 
121; conventional, assumptions 
concerning, questioned, 22, 104, 
concepts of, 102-103, schools 
dominated by, 10, 102, not most 
satisfactory means, 115, 150; co- 
operative planning for, by schools 
and colleges, 125-126; depends on 
college purposes, 119; description 
of, essential, 119; true meaning of, 

College, purpose of, not deter- 
mined, 119 

College Study (College Follow-up 
Study) (see also "Matchees," Col- 
lege, success in); colleges co- 
operate in, 107-109; conclusions 
of, 112; findings of, 109-114, 117, 
122, 149-150; findings of, ana- 
lyzed by college officials, 114- 
115; report of, to the Association 
of American Colleges, 148-150; 
Staff of, investigates Thirty School 
graduates and "matchees," 108- 

CoEege, success in, criteria for, and 
sources of evidence for, 105-107; 
subject matter's role in prepara- 
tion for, 120-121; Thirty Schools' 
graduates, 108-115, 148-150 

Colleges (see also Association of 
American Colleges); approval of 
the Study's results, 114-115, 124- 
125; criticism of, by conventional 
schools, 118; sympathetic under- 
standing of, in the Study, 103-104 
Columbia College, instructors* prep- 
aration preferences, 120-121 

Commission on the Relation of 
School and College (see also 
Eight- Year Study); members of, 
140-141; and schools question 
conventional college preparation, 
104; and schools, beliefs of, re- 
garding school-college relations, 

Committee on Records and Reports 
(see also Records), 13, 95-101, 

Communications, competence in, 
high school graduates lacking in, 
8; as a purpose of the curriculum, 

Community, as laboratory for stu- 
dents, 63; life of, students not 
prepared for, 4; and school, closer 
relations of, sought, 63; stores in, 
co-operate with arts classes, 71; 
students desire to "do something" 
about affairs in, 64-65; study of, 
in reconstruction preparation, 129 

Concerns of youth (see also Needs 
of youth, Problems of youth); as 
basis of curriculum content, 138; 
as basis of college preparation, 
22-23; as basis of core curriculum, 
57-62; as criteria for determining 
content, 74-75; 'long-time/' 76; 
present, 75-76 

Conferences (see also Co-operative 
planning); of counselor, parents, 
and pupil, 37; school-college, 126 

Conservative schools in the Study, 
changes in, 48-49; graduates of, 
in college, compared with others, 

Constructive thinking, need for in 
reconstruction, 130 

Continuity, of experience in school, 
21; of learning, 144-145; of work 
in school, lack of, 9 

Control group (see "Matchees") 

Co-operative planning ( see also Con- 
ferences); by administrator and 
teachers, 33-36; by counselor, 
parents, and pupil, 37, 128; for 
reconstruction, 128-137; by 
schools and colleges, 12, 125-126; 
see also School-college relations 



Co-ordination of School and College 
Work, a Proposal for Better, 140- 

Core curriculum ^ the arts in, 71; 
based on Areas of Living, 58-62; 
based on concerns of youth and 
demands of adult society, 74-77; 
based on problems of youth, 57- 
62; counseling in, 38; relationship 
problems studied in, 58-60 

"Core" teacher, 62; as counselor, 38 

Counselor, as "core" teacher, 38; 
continuity of service with same 
group, 37; every teacher a, 136- 

Creative energies of students, not 
developed, 6; release of, 145 

Creative self-expression (see Arts, 

Critical thinking (see Reflective 

Culture-Epoch courses, 53-55 

Curriculum (see also Curriculum re- 
construction); and concerns of 
youth, 7, 20; see also Concerns of 
youth, Needs of youth, Problems 
of youth; prescription of, by col- 
leges, 104, 122-123; purpose of, 5 

Curriculum Associates, work of, 85 

Curriculum reconstruction, continu- 
ous courses sought in, 144-145; 
criteria for determining contents 
in, 74-77; experimentation, belief 
in, necessary for, 130; guiding 
principles of, 17-18; 'long view" 
necessary in, 145; materials neces- 
sary in, 145-146; parent participa- 
tion in, 128-129; preparation for, 
18, 33-36, 129; see also Co-opera- 
tive planning; pupil participation 
in, 134-135; subject matter in, 
46-62; teacher participation in, 
33-36, 42, 130-134; Thirty 
Schools' conclusions regarding, 
137-138; types of, conventional, 
new content in, 46-49, broad- 
fields, 49-63, culture-epoch, 53- 
55, career-centered, 55-57, fusion 
of courses, 52-53, based on prob- 
lems of youth, 57-62, see also 
Core curriculum 

Defense program, youth needed in, 

Democracy (see also American way 
of life); appreciation of, through 
school as demonstration of, 19; 
in classroom, 77-79; function of 
schools in a, 32-33, 135-136; re- 
flective dunking in a, 82; schools' 
opportunity in a, 139; student 
concepts of, 44; taken for granted 
by teachers, 9; teacher in a, 41 

Diploma, conventional meaning of, 

Directing Committee of the Study, 
co-operation of colleges with, 12; 
dictation avoided by, 15; func- 
tions of, 142-147; guidance plans 
of, 146; and principals meet, 16; 
selection of participating schools 
by, 13-14 

Discipline of mind and character in 
coflege, 119-120 

Discussion in classroom, 78-79 

"Do something/' students 7 desire to, 
about community affairs, 64-65 

Earning a living (see Vocational 
guidance, Work-study curriculum ) 

Economic relationships, as problem 
for study in a core curriculum, 60 

Education, complacency in, 9; guid- 
ance, function of, in, 146; mean- 
ing of, 23, 144; new responsibili- 
ties of, 139; purposes of, 18, 75, 

Eight- Year Study (see also Com- 
mission on the Relation of School 
and College); analyzed by col- 
lege authorities, 147-150; begin- 
nings of, 1-24, 140-147; changes 
sought by, 144-147; Directing 
Committee of (see Directing 
Committee); Evaluation Staff of 
(see Evaluation Staff); explora- 
tory studies by, 116; implications 
of results of, 118-125, 150; school- 
college co-operation planned in, 
12; renewed vitality of Thirty 
Schools in, 138; Records and Re- 
ports Committee (see Records 



and Reports, Committee on); re- 
port of, to the Association of 
American Colleges, 147-150; "un- 
necessary and dangerous," 23 

English, as example of continuous 
course, 144-145 

English and history in the broad- 
fields curriculum, 53 

English language (see also Com- 
munications); competence in, de- 
sired, 120; incompetence of stu- 
dents in, 8 

Evaluation (see also Tests); devices 
and techniques of, 92-93; lack of 
comprehensive, 10; as a means of 
"knowing" students, 36; prepara- 
tion for, in reconstruction, 129; 
relation of purpose to, 88-89; re- 
sponsibility for, 21; student par- 
ticipation in, 94; and teaching, 
linked, 94 

Evaluation Staff, work of, 89-94; 
see also Evaluation; and Com- 
mittee on Records and Reports; 
teachers helped by, to construct 
own tests, 93; tests devised by, 

Faculty, college, co-operative think- 
ing by, 120 

Faculty, school (see Teachers) 

Field trips (see Visits) 

Financial resources for materials, 81 

Follow-up Study (see College 

Freedom from college prescriptions; 
abuse of, lacking, 124; extension 
of, 125, 139; responsibilities en- 
tailed in, 136; teachers' inability 
to use, 16, 22 

Fusion courses, 52-53 

"General Education" (see Core 

curriculum ) 
General Education Board grant to 

Commission, 147 
Gifted intellects, curriculum revision 

to meet needs of, 68-69 

Goals (see also Purposes); college 
credits, as, 7; common, of Thirty 
Schools, 29; evaluation, impor- 
tance of, 88 

Growth, continuity of, 21; by Thirty 
Schools, 49 

Guidance (see also "Knowing" stu- 
dents, Vocational guidance); func- 
tions of, in education, 146; needs 
of students, basis for, 146; all 
teachers responsible for, 136 

Hawks, Dean Herbert E., report of 
the Study by, to the Association 
of American Colleges, 115, 147- 

Health, student, school's responsi- 
bility for, 138 

History courses, comparative studies 
in, 145 

History of student, a criterion for 
college admission, 13, 143 

Home-making, preparation needed 
for, 67-68 

Home-room teacher, as subject 
teacher, 37; see also Counselor 

Home-school relations, changes 
needed in, 39; see also Parents 

Interest Index Test, 92 
Interpretation of Data test, 91 

"Knowing" students, inadequacies 
of, in conventional schools, 5; 
necessity for, 21, 136; ways of, 

Laboratory, community as, 63; arts 
and general, in core curriculum, 

Latin, enriched content in, 47-48 

Leadership, administrative, in cur- 
riculum reconstruction, 33-39; 
democratic, 36-37; educational, in 
reconstruction, 134; intellectual, 
school's responsibility for, 69-70; 
reconstruction progress affected 
by, 27-28; student, in community 
affairs, 65 

Learning, continuity of, sought, 144- 
145; concepts (new and old) of, 


17; greater mastery in, sought, 
144; new materials for, 79-81 

Liberal education, failure of col- 
leges to define, 119-120 

Librarian, school, important role of, 

Libraries, value of, in learning, 79- 
81, 92 

Library, school, expanded resources 
of, 80-81 

Life's meaning, sought by youth, 

"Long" view of subject matter, 

"Marks," abolition of in records, 97 
Marriage and home-making, prepa- 
ration for, 67-68 

"Matchees" (Control group); Thirty 
School graduates compared with, 
in coUege, 109-115, 148-150 
Materials of instruction, 79-81; fi- 
nancial resources for, 81; motion 
pictures and radio as, 80; school 
library services as, 80-81 
Measurement (see Evaluation) 
Motion pictures, use of in learning, 

Needs of youth (see also Concerns 
of youth, Problems of youth, Cur- 
riculum); as source of curricu- 
lum, 75; bases for guidance, 146 

Open-mindedness, meaning of, in 
Behavior Description Record, 99 

Parents (see also Co-operative plan- 
ning, Home-school relations, Pa- 
trons); conferences with, 40; in- 
terpreting school to, 40; participa- 
tion of, in reconstruction plans, 
128-129; and school, collabora- 
tion of, 39-40 

Participation, of students, in com- 
munity Me, 64-65; of students, in 
evaluation, 94; of students, in gen- 
eral life of school, 41-42; of 
teachers, in general life of school, 

Patrons, schools must satisfy, 118- 

Personal characteristics, records of 
students', 97-98 

Personal living, as problem in core 
curriculum, 58-59 

Personal-social adjustment, test of, 

Personality, development and en- 
richment of, 31 

Philosophy, need for in reconstruc- 
tion, 30-31 

Placement tests, Thirty Schools' 
graduates' results on, 148 

Prestige, schools', based on gradu- 
ates' college records, 11 

Principals (see also Administration, 
Administrator); democratic lead- 
ership of, 9-10, 33, 134; and Di- 
recting Committee planning, 16; 
inability to lead in reconstruction 
work, 134 

Problems of youth, 57-62; see also 
Concerns of youth, Needs of youth 

Problem-solving, technique or, 82- 

Progressive schools, graduates of, 
compared with others in college, 
112-115, 149-150; true meaning 
of, 19 

Pupils (see also Classroom, Teacher, 
Teacher-pupil relations); investi- 
gation of own topics, by, 48; par- 
ticipation of, in evaluation, 94; 
participation of, in reconstruction, 
134-135; purposes of, not enlisted 
in conventional schools, 6; and 
teacher, planning, 43, 77-79 

Purposes, clarification of, by teach- 
ers, 47; in classroom, 50; of edu- 
cation, 18, 75, 133; of Eight-Year 
Study, 87, 116; in reconstruction 
preparation, 131-134; of records, 
96-98; of schools, as place for col- 
lege preparation, 102, as social 
organism, 17, as a society, 29; 
of school and society, linked, 132; 
of students not enlisted, 6; of 
tests, 88; of Thirty Schools, 29, 
30, 88-90 

i 5 6 


Radio, use of, in learning, 80 

Reading, competence in, needed, 8, 
138; tests on voluntary and free, 

Reconstruction of schools (see also 
Curriculum reconstruction ) ; ad- 
ministrator's role in, 35; prepara- 
tion for, 127-137; constructive 
thinking in, 30, copying other 
schools unsatisfactory in, 131-132, 
determination of purposes in, 131- 
134, parent participation in, 128- 
129, physical environment in, 131, 
pupil participation in, 134-135, 
teacher participation in, 128, 
time needed for, 131; progress of, 
factors affecting, 27-29 

Records ( see also Evaluation ) , flexi- 
bility of, needed, 97, 100; forms 
of, 97-98; meaning of words, in, 
99-100; objectives revealed by, 
95; purposes and working objec- 
tives of, 96-98; schools devise 
own, 100; to all school work, re- 
lation of, 100-101; uniformity, 
necessary in, 98 

Records and Reports, Committee on, 
13, 95-101, 143 

Records of Thirty Schools' graduates 
in college, 112-114 

Reflective thinking, developing habit 
of, 81-83; in a democracy, 82; in 
social studies, 83 

Religions, study of, provided for by 
schools, 73 

Report to Association of American 
Colleges, 115, 147-150 

Reports (see also Records); Be- 
havior Description, 98-100; joint 
preparation of, 37 

Research, in preparation for recon- 
struction, 129; by student, of own 
topic, 48 

Revision of curriculum (see Curric- 
ulum reconstruction) 

Scholastic Aptitude Tests, 123 
School, function of in a democracy, 

32-33, 135-136 
School-college relations, Committee 

to Study, 2; co-operative plan- 

ning for better, 125; Co-ordina- 
tion of, Better (Proposal to 
Study), 140-146; poor co-ordina- 
tion of, results of, 126; future, 
115; improvement of, as purpose 
of the Study, 116, 140-141 

School Policies Councils, 36 

"School within a school," 38 

Schools, conventional, and college, 
relations between 22-23, 104, 118- 
119; changes needed in, 140; con- 
tributions of, 127; criticism of, by 
colleges, 118; extension of free- 
dom from college prescriptions to, 
125; graduates of, in college, as 
control group, 109-115, 149-150; 
inadequacies of, 3-11; prepara- 
tion by, for college, 118-119; re- 
construction of (see Reconstruc- 
tion, Curriculum reconstruction); 
superior student not challenged 
by, 5; unity of working lacking in, 

Science, broad-fields curriculum in, 
51-52; continuous courses in, 144- 
145; general, test in, 91 

Security, sense of, needed by teach- 
ers, 34-35, 130 

Self-expression (see also Arts, the), 

Social-civic relationships, as a prob- 
lem in the core curriculum, 59 

Social Problems test, 91 

Social responsibility, 145 

Social sciences, continuous courses 
in, 145 

Social studies, reflective thinking in, 

Specialization, subject, abolition de- 
sirable, 137; teachers impover- 
ished by, 8-9 

Stem course (see Core curriculum) 

Student Council, The Philosophy of 
the, 44 

"Student government," sharing of re- 
sponsibilities by, 42-43 

Subject matter in revised curricula, 

Superior students, 5 



Teacher-education, 83, 136-137, 146 

Teachers, collaboration of, 55, 137; 
"core," 62, 83-84; culture-epoch 
courses, teachers in, 55; growth of, 
through freedom, 124, 139; 
'lenowing" and guiding students, 
21; in general school life, 41-42; 
nature of youth, knowledge of, 
lacking, 9; "new life" for, 85, 130; 
participation of, in reconstruction 
planning, 128 (see also Recon- 
struction); security, sense of, 
needed by, 34-35, 130; specializa- 
tion by, impoverishes, 8-9; and 
student collaboration, 77-79, 94, 
135; test-construction by, 93 

Teaching, and evaluation, inter- 
woven, 94; high quality needed 
for reconstruction, 146; methods, 
changes in, needed, 77-86 

Tests (see also Evaluation); con- 
struction of, 89-91, 93; placement, 
Thirty- Schools' graduates, results 
of, 148; purposes of, 88; teacher- 
constructed, 93; use of, for col- 
lege admission, 123, 143 

Thirty Schools (see also Eight-Year 
Study); conclusions of, regarding 
curriculum reconstruction, 137- 
138; graduates of, in college, 107- 
115, 148-150; names of, 14-15; 
participation in the Study, reasons 

for, 19, requirements for, 141; 
proposals, original, of, 25-27; 
purposes of, 29, 88-90 

Time, needed in reconstruction prep- 
aration, 131; problem of, for 
teacher conferences, 35-36 

Traditional studies ( see also Schools, 
conventional); content of, re- 
tained, 47; devitalized, 7; revital- 
ization indicated, 23 

Trips (see Visits) 

Visits, to community resources, 63- 
64, 79; to homes, by counselor, 
parents, and teachers, 38, 40; stu- 
dent participation as a result of, 

Vocational guidance, 65-69, 100; 
see also Career-centered curricu- 

"What and how to teach," concern 
of faculties, 16; changes in, 46-86 

Words, care in choice of, on record 
forms, 97, 99-100 

Workshops, suggestions for ma- 
terials, by, 80 

Work-study curriculum, 55-57 

Youth, concerns of (see Concerns of 
youth, Needs of youth, Problems 
of youth)